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Posts Tagged ‘Elly Griffiths’

I received a free copy of this books from NetGalley.

I have read and enjoyed all the Ruth Galloway series and this one is just as good as its predecessors.  There is something endearing about Ruth as a heroine in that she doesn’t always do everything right and she has the same fears and insecurities as many of us endure.  In this tense mystery boiled human bones are found in a tunnel under Norwich and Ruth discovers that they are recent rather than centuries old.  The police in the person of DCI Harry Nelson therefore has a murder case on his hands.

DS Judy Johnson wants to talk to a woman who used to sleep rough but it seems she has disappeared – gone ‘underground’.  Is this just a figure of speech or is she really living underground? There are rumours of a group of people living in the disused chalk mining tunnels under Norwich.  Then another rough sleeper is found murdered and the case suddenly looks more complicated.

This is a fascinating read and like all good mysteries I could imagine it happening.  Having lived near Norwich at one time I am familiar with the landmarks mentioned and could imagine the action of the story taking place against a real background.  I love all the series characters – Judy Johnson and Cathbad, the Druid; DCI Harry Nelson and his wife Michelle; Ruth herself and her small daughter Kate who is very much a personality in her own right. Fans of this entertaining series which combines crime and archaeology will love this latest book.

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The Coronation of Elizabeth II is the background to this interesting and unconventional mystery story.  DI Edgar Stephens is involved in an investigation into the death of a fortune teller on the pier in Brighton.  Max Mephisto is preparing for his television debut on Coronation day.  Both are shocked by the murder of their old war time commander Colonel Peter Cartwright and both find themselves summoned to London and tasked with investigating the crime.

For Edgar the investigation takes him to New York in search of a medium who may hold the key to the whole business but his visit puts him in danger.  His colleague Sergeant Emma Holmes finds herself in danger in Brighton as she does some investigation into the case of the fortune teller on her own. Underlying both investigations is the fear that an anarchist group wants to disrupt the Coronation.

This is an entertaining mystery with an interesting background of historical events.  I like Edgar and Max as characters and it is good to see Edgar’s police colleagues playing a bigger part in the story as well.  I enjoyed the insights into the magic tricks and the theatre and television background.  If you want to read a historical mystery story which is out of the ordinary then you could try this book or this series.  This is the third book in the series though the books could be read in any order.

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A Room Full of Bones: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 4 (Ruth Galloway Series)

Archaeologist Ruth Galloway turns up at the Smith Museum in Kings Lynn to supervise the opening of a Medieval coffin containing a dead bishop. She finds the museum creator dead beside the coffin. Harry Nelson, detective and father of Ruth’s one year old daughter, Kate, turns up to investigate the murder. The owner of the museum is receiving threatening letters telling him he must return human bones to Australia where they belong. The dead curator had also received similar letters.

Ruth meanwhile is juggling her feelings for Nelson, who has agreed with his wife not to see Ruth or his daughter. She is also juggling child care requirements with her full time job. She has a new neighbour at her isolated cottage on the salt marsh who is in Norfolk to lecture at a university and who comes from Australia. Ruth suspects he may be involved with the pressure group which is seeking to repatriate the skulls currently held in the Smith Museum.

I found this book gripping reading with an interesting sub plot in which the police are trying to find out the source of large quantities of illicit drugs making their way into the county. I like Ruth as a character – she is far from perfect and not typical heroine material but there is something appealing about her lack of self confidence in many areas apart from her job. Nelson is a deeper and more complex character than at first appears and his growing friendship with the druid, Cathbad, is sensitively handled.

If you want something different in the psychological thriller genre then this series is worth trying. It started with [[ASIN:B004EYT57C The Crossing Places: Ruth Galloway Investigation 1: A Case for Ruth Galloway]]

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The House at Sea's End: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 3 (Ruth Galloway Series)

Bones are discovered after a cliff fall on the North Norfolk coast and Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist at the nearby University of North Norfolk is called in to date the bones.  It soon becomes clear that these bones have probably been buried within the last hundred years and may have lain undisturbed since World War II.

When examination reveals the skeletons are victims of crime the police, in the form of DCI Harry Nelson becomes involved. As the crime is investigated it seems there are still people alive who do not want the murderer revealed and both Ruth and Harry will find themselves in danger as they attempt to bring a murderer to justice.

I have read the book and listened to the audio version and this book is atmospheric and well plotted.  I love the characters and the background of the North Norfolk coast and the plot is interesting and well done.  I love the way the relationships of the series characters are developing, though the book could be read as a standalone story.

If you want a crime series which involves history as well then you may well enjoy this one.  Fans of Kate Ellis’s Wesley Peterson series will love the Ruth Galloway mysteries.

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The Janus Stone: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 2 (Ruth Galloway Series)

From this creepy beginning an atmospheric story unfolds with Ruth’s own life becoming increasingly at risk as she and Nelson gradually uncover the secrets the skeleton hides.  Ruth is far from being a typical heroine, overweight, unfashionable and ferociously clever with few social graces.  But there is something endearing about her fierce independence and her determination to unravel the mysteries presented to her.

I really enjoyed this story not least because I am familiar with the area in which it is set.  I thought it was cleverly plotted and the final denouement was tense and exciting.  There was a reappearance of some of the characters from the first book in this series – `The Crossing Places’.  Cathbad, the Druid, Shona – Ruth’s somewhat flaky friend, and of course Harry Nelson.

The background of Roman and Pagan mythology and modern day Catholicism is fascinating and well researched and I thought the character of Father Hennessey, the Catholic priest who ran the children’s home which formerly occupied the Norwich site, was well drawn and convincing.

The relationships between the police involved in the investigation were also interesting.  This book is an excellent follow up to `The Crossing Places’ and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

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The Crossing Places: Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 1 (Ruth Galloway Series)

A child’s bones are discovered near the site of a wooden henge on a beach on the North Norfolk Coast.  The police call in Dr Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist from a nearby university to date the bones as DCI Harry Nelson wonders whether they could be the bones of a child who went missing ten years ago.  He has been haunted by this child’s disappearance ever since it happened and the recent disappearance of another girl has brought all his old feelings of despair to the surface.

Ruth finds herself drawn into the police investigation and unwilling fascinated by the two cases.  Ruth is not a typical mystery heroine.  She is highly intelligent, lacking in small talk and far from the usual svelte a fashionable favourite of mystery writers.  But when talking about her own subject she comes alive and Nelson finds himself unwillingly fascinated by her.

This is a well written mystery with some very tense scenes.  I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like the book when I first read it because it is written in the present tense and I sometimes find books written in the present tense hard to read.  However the story overcome my reservations and I love the main characters.  Ruth herself, the dour and irascible Nelson, the flighty Shona – Ruth’s best friend and Cathbad the Druid.

The background to this story is well drawn and evocative.  The North Norfolk coast can seem very grim in winter but it is never less than atmospheric and it really comes to life in this book.  I have read and the book and listened to the audio book version now and I have thoroughly enjoyed both versions.

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A young woman is found dead in a ditch near Walsingham in Norfolk.  She is wearing a white nightdress, a blue dressing gown and bedroom slippers.  It is quickly established that she is a patient at the Sanctuary – a nearby ‘drying out’ clinic. Ruth Galloway – an atheist – has always managed to avoid the shrine at Walsingham but when she receives an e-mail from a fellow archaeology student who is now a priest she agrees to meet her as Hilary is staying at Walsingham for a few days.

When women priests start being murdered and anonymous letters start threatening murder and mayhem to any woman who dares to be a priest, DCI Harry Nelson is naturally concerned for everyone’s safety.  Druid, Cathbad, thinks he is seeing visions of the Virgin Mary when he sees a beautiful young woman dressed in blue and white in a graveyard while he is house sitting in Walsingham.  Being Cathbad he takes it rather more in his stride than most.

I enjoyed this well written addition to the Ruth Galloway series though it has less about the past in it than many in this series.  It was interesting reading about the history of Walsingham and about the various pilgrimages.  Ruth and Nelson’s relationship continues to be spiky but they are ultimately good friends. It was good to see more of Cathbad too.  If you like crime novels which are a bit different from the norm then try this series.  The books can be read in any order but are probably best read in the order of publication.  I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review.

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