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.