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 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 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.
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths was published in 2010 and the setting is Norfolk.
Dr Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist, she lives in a cottage in Saltmarsh, a very remote area, she lives in one of only three cottages there. People can’t believe she wants to live in such a desolate place but it’s a special place for her, close to where there had been an important archaeological dig where a sacred henge had been found in the mud.
Ruth is asked by DCI Harry Nelson to examine some bones that have been found on the beach. It’s thought they might be the remains of a young girl who had disappeared ten years previously. Thankfully carbon dating proves that the bones are very ancient, but when another young girl disappears Ruth finds herself being dragged into danger.
This is the first book in a series and I’ll definitely be reading the next one. It’s the first book by Elly Griffiths and my only gripe is that she didn’t quite distance herself enough from reality. There is mention of Time Team, inevitably where archaeology is concerned and the author gave two of the archaologists the same names as the main guys in Time Team – Phil and Mike, okay it’s Mick in Time Team, but one has wispy red hair and hat, I’m sure you recognise him if you’re a Brit, we’ve all become armchair archaeologists through that programme. There’s also a druid in flowing robes and I certainly remember him turning up on Time Team and rightly complaining about their lack of respect for the ancestors. Thankfully nobody was wearing a crazy striped jersey. She also obviously got her idea for the book from the news too, something writers often do, I must admit.
If you are in the US or somewhere else that doesn’t have Time Team you might be able to get a glimpse of it below, but it may be blocked.