I am never disappointed when I finish a Ruth Galloway novel - only sorry to see it end. So often a series becomes repetitive or much time is taken catching the reader up with events gone by. Only minor references appear to jog the memory in this series, and every tale is fresh and interesting. This one depicting well the lives of the homeless was particularly poignant and engrossing. Hints at underground cities around the world were fascinating, and while fictional I suspect, they do make for interesting speculation. Ruth Galloway is still the professional archeologist who assists the police when old bones are discovered. Her relationship with Nelson takes some new twists, and Nelson's life gets ever more complicated. Cathbed is always a treat, even in his minor role this time out, and Judy Johnson takes a lead in solving multiple murders and disappearances. All the characters are well-fleshed and well rounded. Nelson is a bit of a curmudgeonly figure, but he has some soft, endearing moments as well. The atmosphere created with the tunnels, the chalk mining of the past, the claustrophobic scenes of Ruth and Nelson unearthing bones in dark, twisting spaces, the cathedral-like chambers underground is all very vivid. There is a little something very near the end that piqued my interest and makes me believe there will soon be a number 10 to look forward to reading! I can at least hope....
Ellie Griffiths is a mystery author that I follow. This book is the latest in her Ruth Galloway series. Ms. Griffiths writes well and she has created interesting characters, settings, and plots. Her characters’ lives change and evolve from book to book so this is a series that is best read in order. Honestly, part of why I follow the series is because I want to know what is going to happen to the characters even more than I want to read a new mystery story. There is nothing trite or formulaic about these books. There are things that I learn in each of the books about England, history, human nature, or anthropology. Ruth is a successful professional woman in academia. Her career, and her commitment and love for her young daughter, are not reduced to shallow nothings. These are not book group books. However, Ellie Griffiths, like Paul Doiron, Martin Walker, Mark Pryor, Cara Black, Tana French, Louise Penney, and a few others, succeeds in writing current mysteries that are a cut above much of the genre. They motivate me to pre-order and to pay the full purchase price. This was a strong entry in the series (there are no weak links) and I will be watching for the next one.
It pains me to give this novel 3 stars as I normally am head over heels in love with Ruth Galloway stories. This one seemed to be 80% personal lives and 20% murder and history. The historical aspects often have me doing research and looking at Google Earth. This storyline about underground passages and underground people just didn't hold my attention. It was well written - I enjoyed the additional revelations about Ruth, Nelson, Kate, and the rest of the gang - but it missed on the suspense elements. Nevertheless, I will be looking forward to the next Ruth Galloway release! So, if you are considering buying this as your first plunge into Ruth and Co, try another one. I recommend reading in order anyway.
Elly Griffiths is one of my favorite authors. I love her Ruth Galloway series, and find it hard to put the books down once I start reading them. I feel like Ruth and the other characters have become my friends, and I cheer and worry over their adventures in each story. I can't wait to see what happens to Ruth next. These stories remind me of grown up Nancy Drew stories.
Ruth is an archaeologist whose personal life's work consists of revealing relics long submerged beneath the surface of the earth. She has chosen to remain at the university and in the same community as the father of her child, the local police chief. Beneath the dark colors of her clothing beats a lustful heart, a heart that can be hurt and broken by the storms in her life, but a heart that keeps going with a slender thread of hope that her sometimes, lonely paths will not be walked alone for long.
Meanwhile, another whose heart and ways are not so normal, terrorizes the area with his murders of the homeless, his submission of women, and his twisted perceptions of reality. Ruth manages to get involved in the business of little Kate's dad as the search for bones crosses paths with the search for the killer in the meandering chalk caves. Of course, this all seems a bit simplistic, but I promise if you will grab your flashlights and your shovel, figuratively speaking, you will untangle the complexities of Ruth's adventures and her lover's stubborn fight for justice.
This mystery series features a heroine who is a crime-solving archaeologist and professor AND a single mother to her young daughter, conceived through a one night liaison with the brilliant but curmudgeonly best local police detective after a harrowing solution to their first crime together and is nothing if not atmospheric. The mysteries have both intriguing and involved plots as well as characters who, like even Cathbad, the local Druid, who IS almost always humbly correct, married to Judy, a seemingly conventional police sergeant, become cozy friends. Ruth Galloway's books are beautifully written,but it's their "liminal" milieu, where land and water are barely separated at sunrise, sunset, in fog, in rain, in mist, in the dark while all the time underneath which land-water lie archaeological significant ancient henges and sacrificed bodies, is THE BEST. British writing is so atteactive and this author is a good example of the best contemporary British mystery writer.
I really like this series. The characters are very believable and so are the plots. This book did not disappoint. There might have been a twist at the very end. I'll have to wait for the next book to find out.