Readers Imbibing Peril XV

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.

A Better Man by Louise Penny

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley

Dark Tales by Shirley Jackson

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Martian Menace by Eric Brown

A Step So Grave by Catriona McPherson

Checkmate to Murder by E.C.R. Lorac

The Turning Tide by Catriona McPherson

Cloak of Darkness by Helen MacInnes

imbibing

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

The Big Sleep cover

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!

imbibing

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

The Dark Angel cover

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

The Chalk Pit cover

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.

My library books

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.
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.
Alan Bradley

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.
Sir Walter Scott

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.
Georgina Lee

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan is one that I hope will help out with getting me into the Christmas spirit.
Jenny Colgan

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.
Lucinda Ganderton

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.
Magnusson

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!

Have you read any of these ones?

The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue cover

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.

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

The Ghost Fields cover

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths is one of her Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries and it was published in 2015. The setting is Norfolk where Ruth has been called in to help when a body is discovered in a World War 2 aeroplane which has been dug up by a man in a digger who is clearing a field prior to houses being built on it. The whole area had been peppered with US airfields during the war, Norfolk was the ideal location due to the extreme flatness of the county. Of course nothing is straightforward and so begins a mystery involving a local landowning family.

This is an enjoyable read, it was good to catch up with everyone again and a bit of a shock to realise that Ruth’s daughter Kate is at the stage of starting school already, but such is life as you’ll know if you’ve been down that road yourself.

The love lives of everyone involved in these books have just become even more of a mess. There’s nobody in a truly happy relationship although it looks like Cloughie might be on the right road, although I’m not holding my breath.

I’m looking forward to reading the next one in the series which I think is called The Woman in Blue.

One mild annoyance is that aeroplane hangar is spelled hanger – silly.

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

The Outcast Dead cover

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths is the sixth book in her Ruth Galloway series. As Ruth is an archaeologist specialising in bones they usually entail the discovery of a body and this one is no different.

The location of her dig is Norwich Castle which had been a prison in the past. People who had been hanged were buried in the grounds and when the body that Ruth is excavating turns out to have a hook where a hand should be, she’s sure that it’s a locally famous child murderer.

Whilst Ruth is busy with that body her one time lover DCI Harry Nelson is investigating a supposed cot death, but it’s the third such tragedy in the same family and he’s thinking that three times is just too many to be natural.

I enjoyed this one although I’m beginning to wonder what Elly Griffiths has against happy couples as in her books nobody seems to be with the correct partner. I’m not at all sure that that adds much to the reading experience. No doubt it is the sort of thing that creative writing courses suggest as being a good thing to do to introduce conflict, but it can be overdone I think.

Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Dying Fall cover

Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths was published in 2013 and it’s the fifth book in her series featuring Ruth Galloway, the forensic archaeologist who is usually based in Norfolk. Ruth ends up travelling on a motorway following the signs that say THE NORTH, she’s aiming for Lancashire as in this one her old friend Dan from university has died in a house fire. Was it an accident or deliberate?

It transpires that Dan was a worried man, he thought he had dug up the discovery of a lifetime, but a local group of right-wing nutters isn’t going to be happy with his findings. Are they involved in his death and exactly who is in this secret society?

The setting is mainly Blackpool and Fleetwood, so I was thankful that we had visited there in the autumn, so I knew exactly where I was so to speak.

Meanwhile DCI Harry Nelson has been persuaded by his wife to have a holiday, she’s hoping for somewhere exotic but he’ll only consider visiting Blackpool which is where he grew up and his mother still lives. When his old colleague calls him in to help with the investigation it’s inevitable that his path is going to cross with Ruth’s – again.

I think I enjoyed this one more than the previous one in the series, so I plan to get on with the next book soon as I’ve fallen behind with this series, it’s time to catch up.

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

 The Janus Stone cover

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths was published in 2010 and is the second book in the series.

Archaeologist Ruth Galloway has been called in to investigate bones which have been found buried in a doorway in an old villa in Norwich. Just how old are they? They were only uncovered because most of the house is being demolished to make way for new homes, but it transpires that the old house had been used as a Catholic children’s home in the past and some members of the police force are jumping to conclusions. Children had gone missing years ago, perhaps they had been murdered and buried there.

In the first book in this series, The Crossing Place, Ruth had a one night stand with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson and she now realises that she’s pregnant, for her it’s a bonus, but she’s not sure how Nelson will react to the news, and to make matters worse she has now met Nelson’s wife and has become a friend.

Ruth is still living in her remote cottage and someone is trying to frighten her – and succeeding.

I’m enjoying this series and will definitely continue with it. Apart from anything else, I want to know what is going to happen in the personal lives of the main characters. It could be very messy.