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The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

Dr Ruth Galloway is back in her cottage in Norfolk and is ready to start work after receiving a promotion. It is not long, however, before paths cross with DCI Nelson when a body is found washed up on the beach by a group of metal detectorists known as the Night Hawks. Thought to be an unfortunate asylum seeker, this theory is soon quashed when he is identified as Jem Taylor, a local man who has recently been released from prison. A second incident is declared when the bodies of a man and woman are found at Black Dog Farm. Initially believed to be a murder-suicide, evidence later puts this in doubt and when the body of a large dog is found buried in the garden, talk begins of the Black Shuck, a legendary dog who is seen as the harbinger of death…


The thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloway series sees Ruth back where she belongs but this time she is now the head of department after the previous incumbent, Phil, has taken retirement. Long time readers of this series will find some of Ruth’s comments about grants and funding amusing as she realises after all her years of berating Phil for similar comments, she is now saying the same things! It is these small things that make me love this series so much, the characters feeling like old friends who I look forward to catching up with every year! New character, David Brown, is an interesting addition to the mix. A new employee at the university, Ruth isn’t sure what to make of him and neither are we as readers. He is definitely someone I would like to see in subsequent books as he definitely has the potential to replace Phil as Ruth’s sparring partner!


As has been the theme throughout the series, we see Ruth’s complicated relationship with DCI Nelson impacting on both her personal and professional life. We have gone way past the ‘will they, won’t they?’ aspect of their lives, but Elly Griffiths still manages to keep us guessing as to what will happen between them. The ending of this book, in particular, has left me wondering what is on the horizon.


The setting of the Ruth Galloway books has always been one of their strengths and the coast and countryside of Norfolk has again provided a superb backdrop to the plot. It was easy to visualise the murder scene at the desolate Black Dog Farm, the eerie atmosphere giving credence to the legend of the Black Shuck. This also gave us the opportunity to enter the world of everyone’s favourite druid, Cathbad, who finds himself involved with the Night Hawks on their excavations.


Elly Griffiths never lets me down and The Night Hawks is another superb book in this series. I hope it won’t be too long before we find out what happens as a result of the final scene!


With thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my ARC.


Take a look at my reviews for the rest of this series:

The Crossing Places

The Janus Stone

The House at Sea’s End

A Room Full of Bones

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree

A Dying Fall

The Outcast Dead

The Ghost Fields

The Woman in Blue

The Chalk Pit

The Dark Angel

The Stone Circle

The Lantern Men

The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths

Dr Ruth Galloway has left behind her beloved Saltmarsh and is now teaching at St. Jude’s College, Cambridge, where she is now living with her daughter, Kate, and partner, Frank. Norfolk pulls her back, though, after convicted murderer Ivor March tells DCI Nelson that he will reveal the whereabouts of the bodies of two missing women, but only if Ruth can do the dig. Reluctantly, she agrees, conducting the dig in a place said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, figures who lure people to their deaths. As the case progresses, more questions begin to be asked: Why was March so insistent that Ruth be the one doing the digging and is, like Cathbad believes, March actually innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of?

It is fair to say that Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite authors and so The Lantern Men was one of the books on my most anticipated list for 2020. Ruth, Nelson, Cathbad and the rest of the characters in this wonderful series have become like old friends, and I could not wait to see what has happened to them since the previous book, The Stone Circle. Well, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed! Ruth has left her job, taking up a new appointment in Cambridge and living with her partner, Frank. We also find Clough working with another police force and Nelson enjoying being a father again, to his two-year-old son, George. It’s not long, though, before Elly Griffiths ‘gets the band together again’, as they investigate the deaths of the women.

Although Ivor March has been convicted of the murders of two of the women, doubt is soon cast as to his involvement when there is a new development. Ivor was definitely a charismatic, unnerving character, but was he a murderer? There were certainly plenty of people (mainly women) keen to see his conviction quashed, and Elly Griffiths has done a great job in introducing a smorgasbord of potential suspects, each one of them connected to March through his involvement with a local artistic commune. These characters were all suspicious in their own right, and I spent the book trying to figure out who, if any of them, were involved.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is how archaeology and modern police forensics work hand in hand and this is certainly apparent is The Lantern Men. I love how archaeologist Ruth appears to be at her happiest when up to her knees in soil, yet worries about her appearance whenever Nelson is around! The relationship between these two characters is as complex as ever and with more and more people seemingly aware of their connection, this leads to some uncomfortable moments for them both.

I had no doubt that I would enjoy this book, but The Lantern Men managed to exceed my already high expectations. Heart-stopping in moments, this is an excellent addition to an already superb series. I look forward to seeing where Elly Griffiths takes Ruth next.

With thanks to Net Galley and Quercus for my copy.

Take a look at my reviews for the rest of this series:

The Crossing Places

The Janus Stone

The House at Sea’s End

A Room Full of Bones

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree

A Dying Fall

The Outcast Dead

The Ghost Fields

The Woman in Blue

The Chalk Pit

The Dark Angel

The Stone Circle

The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths

Feeling troubled by the events in the previous book, Dr. Ruth Galloway is pleased when a face from her past, Dr. Angelo Morelli, contacts her, seeking her assistance on bones that have been discovered in a small Italian village. Accompanied by her friend Shona and their children, they head off to the continent, where they find a village still clinging on to memories of the Second World War and the Resistance. The past and present collide however, when the body of a local is found in the church. What secrets lurk that would make someone kill to protect?

I was very late in discovering the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths but since reading my first one two years ago, I have devoured the books and was eagerly anticipating this one. Taking Ruth out of her comfort zone is a big gamble but is one that’s has definitely paid off and it has enabled us to take a peek into her past whilst also exploring more of her relationship with best friend, Shona. Although Ruth is brought to Italy on the premise of assisting with recently discovered bones, the archaeology takes a bit of a back seat as she realises that there are more pressing matters that threaten their idyllic break. Somebody clearly doesn’t want Ruth there and she begins to fear, rightly so, that her life may be in danger.

I had feared that with the story being set in Italy, we would see less of the other characters we have come to know and love, but this was not to be the case. Running alongside the main plot, is a sub-plot about a released prisoner who bears a grudge against DCI Harry Nelson. Despite having this and huge upheaval in his personal life to contend with, Nelson finds his way out to Italy, accompanied by Cathbad, when news of a disaster reaches him. Throughout the books, we have seen Nelson struggle with his feelings for Ruth and this becomes even more heightened due to everything that is currently going on in his life. He is becoming more and more of a tortured soul and, depending upon the climax of a particular storyline, we could soon see him being tipped firmly over the edge!

The most shocking part of the book is reserved for the final chapters when a major event occurs that will have repercussions for several of the characters. Without going into too much detail, I was genuinely upset by what happened but, at the same time, can’t wait to see what the consequences will be.

If you have never read any of the Ruth Galloway series, please do as I don’t feel you will be disappointed. For anyone who is already a fan, The Dark Angel is a welcome addition to an already brilliant series.

With thanks to Quercus and Net Galley for my ARC.

 

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

imageEver since I started reading the Ruth Galloway series, this is the book I have been longing to read as I have a huge interest in Victorian crime. The references to baby farming and the resurrectionists gave the story of Jemima Green an authentic feel and, although this was only a small part of the plot, I did develop a great deal of sympathy for the child killer and hoped that Ruth would be able to prove her innocence.

The main storyline – the child abduction – was a very emotive one, and, at times, it was hard to put down the book as I was desperate to find out the outcome. We also get to see a different side to many of the characters as the case unfolds. It was fascinating to see how the abduction affected Clough and how he was willing to accept advice from unconventional sources. I was also pleased to see the return of Cathbad after his sojourn in Pendle!

Although I have enjoyed all of Elly Griffiths’ books immensely, it is safe to say that this is my favourite one of the series so far!

Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Ordinarily, Ruth Galloway would be excited to receive a letter from an old university friend detailing news of a fascinating archaeological discovery. Unfortunately, the letter has arrived the day after the writer’s death, killed in a suspicious house fire in the north-west of England. After receiving threatening texts warning to her to stay away from the dig, forensic archaeologist Ruth wrestles with her conscience and finally decides to head up to Ribchester to see exactly what Dan Golding had discovered and why someone is determined to stop her finding out. Ruth’s visit coincides with DCI Harry Nelson’s trip back home to Blackpool so, inevitably, he is drawn into the case. This time, however, the stakes are high and someone very close to Ruth may find themselves in mortal danger…

Dying Fall is the fifth book in the series and we see Ruth and Nelson out of the confines of Norfolk, instead heading to the northern towns of Ribchester, Fleetwood and Blackpool. As someone who knows Blackpool fairly well, I found Nelson’s take on his hometown very realistic but also understood Kate’s excitement at seeing Blackpool Pleasure Beach with its child-friendly Nickleodeon Land! Elly Griffiths’ writing always makes me want to explore new places – in this case, Pendle looks looks like a fascinating place to visit!

This book is not as fast-paced as the previous books but, instead is a slow-burner culminating in a nail-biting climax at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. There are many themes running throughout the story, as the author deals with the likes of racism and the supernatural, and it is interesting to see how the different characters interpret things in their own ways.

It is definitely recommended that you read the other books in the series before this one in order to fully appreciate the plot and character development. Another great read and I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree by Elly Griffiths

Now that her daughter, Kate, is old enough to begin to understand Christmas, forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway wants to make it special. A tree must be purchased, presents sourced and food bought – all while trying to figure out whether Max, who she has started a recent relationship with, can actually be called her boyfriend!

Ruth’s First Christmas Tree follows on from where A Room Full of Bones left off. Still juggling work and motherhood, we now get more of an insight into her personal life and how she is coming to terms with a new relationship and how this affects how she views Detective Inspector Harry Nelson.

As this is a short story to accompany the Dr. Galloway series of books, there is, of course, reference to a historical artefact in the shape of a missing piece of wood. Ruth manages to solve the mystery and it is a surprising culprit!

If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, it’s definitely worth downloading as an introduction – especially as it’s free on kindle. At only 41 pages long, what have you to lose?!

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

crossing-placesPerfectly happy with her secluded life in the remote Saltmarsh near Norfolk, archaeologist Ruth Galloway’s talents are called upon by Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson when the skeleton of a girl is found on a nearby beach. Aware that the parents of local schoolgirl Lucy Downey have been missing their daughter since she was taken ten years ago, the body turns out to be two thousand years old. When it emerges that Nelson has been receiving letters about the girl containing references to archaeology and ritual, Ruth finds herself involved in a case that leaves her questioning who she can trust.

Ever since reading The Woman in Blue, the latest of the Ruth Galloway novels by Elly Griffiths, I have wanted to catch up on the rest of the series so was pleased to finally find the time to begin my journey! It was with trepidation that I started to read The Crossing Places, as I hoped that reading the series out of sequence would not spoil my enjoyment of what was to come. Thankfully, this did not occur!

In The Crossing Places, we are introduced to Ruth and how she first became involved with the police but we are also introduced to the character of Cathbad. In The Woman in Blue, Cathbad was a character whom I immediately warmed to, despite his quirkiness.Here, however, I found myself disliking what I read about him, so I am looking forward to reading the development of his character in subsequent books.

Elly Griffiths does a good job in mixing fact with fiction and also in creating a ‘whodunnit’ that really does make you doubt the motives of nearly every character! Although my suspicions about the child abductor were confirmed, there were still plenty of other parts of the story that I did not see coming.

This is a great start to the series and I already have the next one lined up to read!

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