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 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.