The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths was published in 2022 and as the book begins the Coronavirus is just beginning to hit the UK. To begin with Ruth has been given the unenviable job of clearing her mother’s personal possessions from what had been the family home in London. Ruth’s father has re-married and his wife of a few years now wants to do some re-decorating, obviously she’s not going to do that around her predecessor’s old clothes. A box of old photographs has thrown up a puzzle for Ruth. Why would her mother have an old photograph of the outside of Ruth’s home, taken in the 1960s? Her mother had never liked Ruth living there, she thought it too remote, but it’s obvious that the cottage had featured in Ruth’s mother’s past somehow, and she had kept it secret.
Back in her beloved Norfolk Ruth soon becomes involved with the excavation of a skeleton, possibly a plague victim. Her students are always keen on that subject, but along comes the first lockdown and most of the students go home to struggle with Zoom lectures.
As Ruth and her daughter Kate begin to feel lonely in their remote cottage they’re cheered up by the arrival of a new neighbour next door, although that does make the frequent visits from Nelson slightly fraught as he is really breaking the lockdown. He’s investigating some apparent suicides, but possible murders, and he’s taking advantage of the fact that his wife is away to spend more time with Ruth.
Despite the fact that two years into the pandemic with the stats being higher than ever in Scotland, I could really have been doing with NOT reading about the pandemic, but I still enjoyed this one.
The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths is the 13th book in her Dr Ruth Galloway series. Somehow I missed it out and went on to read the 14th The Night Hawk which annoyingly kept referring to things that had happened in the previous book.
Anyway, in this one Ruth has left Norfolk where she had been a lecturer at North Norfolk University, but when Cambridge offered her the post of Head of Archaeology she couldn’t turn it down. She has a whole new life now including an American partner called Frank. She has been surprised that the students at Cambridge University seem no cleverer than those in Norfolk, however they are more confident presumably because of their mainly private education. I love it that Griffiths wrote that. Over confidence can be dangerous, just look at our prime minister!
To the book, Nelson is investigating getting to the end of a court case and he’s delighted when the man that he had charged with multiple murders is found guilty. But Ivor March is adamant that he didn’t kill the women, he does however admit to killing another woman and tells Nelson where she’s buried, but before that March makes Nelson promise to get Ruth to do the excavation, he doesn’t trust Phil Trent’s work. So Ruth finds herself back in her old stamping ground of Norfolk and meeting up with her old friends again – including Nelson of course.
This is a good read, Elly Griffiths was inspired to write it after reading about the Lantern Men in a book on Norfolk folklore. Annoyingly there are quite a few typos in this book, repeated words and even phrases, surely someone should have proof read it.
The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths is the 13th book in her Dr Ruth Galloway series. I realised not long after beginning to read this book that I had missed out on number 12 – The Lantern Men – so I’ll have to go backwards and read it as it seems that quite a lot happened in that one. Ruth is now Head of Archaeology at North Norfolk University.
Anyway, The Night Hawks are a group of metal detectorists and while doing their thing on a Norfolk beach they discover what they think might be a Bronze Age weapon hoard, but as they’re digging one of them realises that something has been washed up as the tide comes in. It’s a body, so obviously the police are called in – in the shape of Nelson. Yet again Nelson and Ruth are thrown together as she examines the detectorist’s find and he tries to discover the identity of the body.
I think this is one of the weaker books in this series, I found it to be quite predictable and I was surprised when it’s mentioned that Ruth’s daughter is now eleven years old as she seems a lot younger. Yet again there’s jeapordy for Nelson. I suspect that the author is running out of steam with this series, but I still quite enjoyed it.
The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths was published in 2020 and it’s the second book in her DS Harbinder Kaur series. Normally I would try to read books in a series in order, but it wasn’t a problem just diving in as I did.
Natalka is a care worker with 90 year old Peggy Smith as one of her ‘clients’. When Natalka discovers Peggy dead in her chair, facing her bay window she feels that something is not quite right. Peggy had spoken of being watched, but that could just have been the beginning of age related paranoia or dementia. Then a business card is found near Peggy, on it she’s described as a ‘murder consultant’. It seems that Peggy had led a secret life as an expert on unusual ways of murdering people. Her skills were in demand by many crime writers who needed her input when they needed ways of their characters being murdered.
Peggy’s son is in an unseemly hurry to pack up her flat and get it on the market, there are a lot of books, but when Natalka and her friend Benedict (coffee shack owner and ex monk) visit the flat they end up being threatened by a masked gunman who left swiftly after grabbing a book.
DS Harbinder Kaur is on the case which begins with Peggy’s death in Shoreham and leads to Aberdeen in north east Scotland. This was a really enjoyable read with unusual and likeable characters and there’s quite a bit of humour in there too. I feel I should read the first book in this series now, The Stranger Diaries.
I’ve come to the end of Readers Imbibing Peril, it’s the first time I’ve taken part and I did enjoy it. I did quite well I think, the only book on my original list that I didn’t read is Shirley Jackson’s Dark Tales. I requested this one from the library and it hasn’t arrived yet, I will read it when/if it does turn up.
The only author who was new to me was Raymond Chandler, I’ve been meaning to get around to reading him for decades, I loved The Big Sleep so I’ll definitely be reading more of his books.
The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths is the 11th book in her Dr Ruth Galloway series. The setting is Norfolk, as usual. DCI Harry Nelson has been sent an anonymous letter and it looks similar to previous letters he has received, but the writer of those ones is dead.
Meanwhile Ruth is taking part in an archaeological dig on the Saltmarsh at a Stone Circle and she has found bones of a young girl. She suspects that the bones aren’t all that old, certainly not from the Bronze Age despite being found in a Bronze Age Cist.
Carbon 14 dating comes up with the possibility that the bones belong to a young girl who disappeared years ago locally. Nelson re-opens the cold case and the people involved in the original investigation are visited again, with tragic consequences.
To begin with I thought that this book was going to be very similar to many of her earlier books, in a lot of ways it was. Griffiths seems to have a bit of a penchant for children’s bones being discovered, but the personal relationships between the characters are at least 50% of the pleasure of this series so I ended up really enjoying just being in their company.
It’s always nice when a character says and does things that you agree with, and I warmed to Nelson when he was happy to see that Ruth had silver threads in her brown hair which is soft compared with his wife’s peroxided and hair-sprayed hairdo – I almost forgave him for cheating on his wife – almost!
The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths was published in 2018. I’m really pleased that I’ve caught up with this Dr Ruth Galloway mystery series. This one is mainly set in Italy as Ruth has been asked to help out an Italian archaeologist whom she happened to have a brief fling with years ago. Her relationship with Harry Nelson, father of her six year old daughter is becoming more complicated and annoyingly he’s becoming more and more possessive, despite the fact that he’s obviously enjoying a normal relationship with his wife.
Reports of an earthquake in the local area mean that Nelson – who hates taking any time off for holidays – flies to Italy immediately to check up on Ruth and Kate and when a local priest is murdered Nelson becomes involved in the investigation.
I enjoyed this one a lot, I suspect that is because Nelson’s wife Michelle appears to be more than just a victim now, to me anyway.
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths is a Dr Ruth Galloway mystery. I’m so pleased that I’ve almost caught up with this series which I’m reading in order – a necessity I think.
As usual with a Ruth Galloway book it isn’t long before she is digging up some bones and meeting up with Nelson to discuss whether the bones are really old and so not something he has to get involved in, or are much more recent meaning he has a murder to investigate. It looks to Ruth as if the bones have been boiled as they’re white and very shiny. They’ll have to go off for carbon-14 analysis.
Meanwhile some people disappear and a few homeless people are murdered. There’s always been a rumour that underneath Norwich there are miles and miles of secret tunnels, chalk mines from another age, could the missing people be there?
As ever Ruth’s personal life is as interesting as the crime/mystery aspect of these books. Towards the end of this one – and just as I had decided that she was going to be more sensible in her old age – she surprised me and it looks like everyone’s life is going to get a lot more complicated.
I’ve already borrowed the next one in this series from the library so I don’t have long to wait to find out what happens next. Honestly I think I’m more interested in the personal lives of the main characters than the mystery and crimes involved.
I had been doing fairly well with concentrating on reading my own books – until recently. At the moment I have quite a few out and I’m waiting for one to turn up. I need to read The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths before going on to read the one that comes after that in her Dr Ruth Galloway series which is – The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths.
Today I just picked up The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley, I’m really looking forward to that one.
I borrowed The Fair Maid of Perth by Sir Walter Scott, I have an ancient hardback edition of it but the print is teeny and this new Edinburgh edition has loads of explanatory notes which I’m reliably informed are really interesting.
The Great War Diaries of Georgina Lee – Home Fires Burning shouted at me from a display in the library so I couldn’t leave the place without it.
Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan is one that I hope will help out with getting me into the Christmas spirit.
Sew Your Own Vintage Keepsakes by Lucinda Ganderton has a wide variety of things to make in it but it’s the pattern of the wee rag doll which interests me. I’ve always liked the look of rag dolls so I plan to get around to making one – if I have enough time.
The Last one is a book that I’ve already finished. The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson. It was a great read and I hope that she writes some more books. I’ll write about it in another blogpost.
That lot should keep me busy although I’ll have to renew some of them as there’s no way I’ll get them all read within three weeks. But in 2019 I’m definitely concentrating on reading my own books – honest!
The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths was published in 2016 and it’s a Dr Ruth Galloway mystery.
The setting for this one is mainly Walsingham in Norfolk, a place of Roman Catholic pilgrimage. Ruth’s friend Cathbad is house-sitting in Walsingham for a friend who owns a cat and has gone on holiday. Of course Cathbad – a druid – likes to think that he is very attuned to ‘atmosphere’ and he isn’t comfortable in Walsingham and particularly the cottage he’s living in temporarily.
Cathbad thinks he may have seen a vision of the virgin Mary as he has seen a woman dressed in a blue cloak, but when a woman’s body turns up the next morning he realises that she was the woman he saw.
Ruth becomes involved in this one when an old university friend contacts her. Her friend is now a female priest and she has been getting nasty letters from someone who objects to the existence of women priests.
This was a really good read with the relationships between the main characters becoming even more painful, and more realistic I think.