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The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

img_0987After bones are discovered in the network of tunnels under Norwich, DCI Nelson has a murder to investigate when it is revealed that they are part of a recent burial. To add a macabre twist, Dr. Ruth Galloway has suspicions that the bones have been boiled – could a cannibal be at large? Meanwhile, a homeless woman has gone missing, the only clue seemingly being that she has ‘gone underground’. Are the two cases connected and what, if anything, links them to the disappearance of another local woman? It is up to Nelson and Dr. Ruth Galloway to unearth the mysteries of The Underground before it is too late…

Over the past year, I have read all of Elly Griffiths’ ‘Ruth Galloway’ books and The Chalk Pit was on my list of most anticipated books of 2017. Ruth has become one of my favourite fictional characters and it has been fascinating to see the character development of her and other favourites such as Cathbad and Nelson. All of the characters are extremely well-written, likeable and very realistic.

With homelessness seemingly on the rise, The Chalk Pit is a very topical read and Elly Griffiths deals with the issue in a sensitive and sympathetic way. It is hard not to feel for the plight of the rough sleepers, and people’s differing attitudes towards them is all too true. DS Judy Johnson really comes into her own in this book and the obituary written by her at the end of the book is very moving.

As someone who loves historical as well as crime fiction, I have found Elly Griffiths’ books a perfect read. Although there is less of a historical angle in The Chalk Pit, there is still enough about old bones and communities to whet the appetite! As you would expect with any book involving DCI Nelson and Dr. Galloway, there are some murders to investigate along the way, which tie in neatly to the disappearance of the women.

Elly Griffiths has written another fantastic book and one that, in my opinion, cements her place as one of the best writers of a crime series. My only regret is that I have now finished all the Ruth Galloway books and know that there will be a while until the next one!

With thanks to Net Galley and Quercus for the arc.

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

After being summoned by DCI Harry Nelson to look at the body of a World War Two pilot discovered in a buried plane, forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway, soon realises that all is not what it seems. The body is identified as Fred Blackstock, whose plane was reported to have crashed at sea and, to confuse matters even further, there is a bullet hole in his head… When human remains are found at a nearby pig farm and another member of the Blackstock family is attacked, Nelson is tasked with bringing an unknown murderer to justice.

The Ghost Fields is the seventh in the Ruth Galloway series and, like all of her previous books, Elly Griffiths has created another ‘unputdownable’ read. By linking a historical case with the modern crimes, the story moves on at a steady pace and manages to throw in a few red herrings to keep you guessing right until the very end.

One of the things I enjoy most about this series is the characterisation. Throughout the books, we have seen the characters develop to the point where I almost believe they are real people! Ruth is fast becoming one of my favourite fictional characters and fully deserves to have her story made into a TV series.

My only problem with this book is that, as I read the next book in the series, The Woman in Blue, before the others, I have now reached the end of the Ruth Galloway story! Roll on 23rd February 2017 when The Chalk Pit is published!

 

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?!

A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

Room Full of BonesWhen forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway, visits the Smith Museum in King’s Lynn prior to the opening of a coffin purportedly containing the remains of Bishop Augustine, the last thing she expects to find is the lifeless body of the museum’s curator lying beside it. Once again, Ruth is destined to cross paths with Detective Inspector Harry Nelson as he investigates the untimely death. With the police already stretched to their limits investigating a drugs ring, will the case be solved without the loss of any more lives?

A Room Full of Bones, the fourth in the Ruth Galloway series, welcomes back the characters that we have grown to love in the  previous novels. The main difference, however, is that, whereas we have become used to seeing Ruth actively involved in the investigation, here she takes a back seat and the characters of Cathbad, Judy and Clough take centre stage. This has given the author the opportunity to develop their characters and, in some cases, set up storylines for further books.

The setting of the story, around a horses’ yard, was surprising as the previous books have been based around archaeological digs. I also liked the new character of Bob – a perfect foil for Cathbad! I did miss Nelson, however, as (without giving too much away) he was incapacitated throughout a lot of the book. The strained relationship between Ruth and the Inspector is one of the highlights of this series so I anticipate the next stage in the next book.

Another great read from Elly Griffiths and a relief that, for once, Ruth did not have to fight for her life!

 

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths

Dr Ruth Galloway is, once again, needed when the bodies of six men are discovered by archaeologists during an investigation into coastal erosion on the Norfolk coast. Tests reveal that the bodies have been there since the Second World War and soon Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson are trying to uncover the truth. There is still someone, however, that wants what happened to stay hidden – someone who is prepared to kill.

In The House at Sea’s End, we find Ruth trying to come to terms with motherhood – something she is not finding easy due to her determination to carry on with her job at the university and her work with the police. Through her astute writing, Elly Griffiths has shown how hard it is for a single mother trying to juggle her home and work life whilst also being convinced that she is, in some ways, failing her young daughter. Ruth’s relationship with Nelson is also becoming blurred and it is surely a matter of time before the identity of Kate’s father becomes common knowledge.

The story of the six bodies is a fascinating one and gives an insight into the world of the Home Guard during World War Two. Let’s just say that it’s a million miles away from Dad’s Army! It was also interesting to find out a bit more about Ruth’s past with the revelation that she spent some time assisting with the war graves of Bosnia. The appearance of an old friend from that time also gives Ruth the opportunity to think about her life and how she should cherish her child.

Another enjoyable book from the series!

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

When the skeleton of a young child is found on the site of a former children’s home in Norwich, forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway is called in to assist. What makes it even more macabre, is that the remains are headless – is this a case of murder or is it a ritual sacrifice? When he discovers that two children went missing from the home, DCI Harry Nelson begins an investigation into a crime that threatens the safety of someone very close to him.

‘The Janus Stone’ is the second of Elly Griffiths’ novels to feature Ruth Galloway and is just as good as the first. In ‘The Crossing Places’, we were introduced to a fiercely independent woman who enjoyed her solitary life in the Saltmarsh. With the discovery of her pregnancy, however, we are seeing a woman coming to terms with something she never thought would happen and a more maternal side of Ruth is emerging. The relationship between Ruth and Nelson is fascinating, as is the character of Michelle, Nelson’s wife. Although she only plays a minor role, her interest in Ruth’s pregnancy is sure to cause problems in later books.

The theme of childhood death runs through ‘The Janus Stone’, and the controversial issue of child abuse in Catholic-run orphanages is also dealt with. Thankfully, the author manages to write about these topics in a sensitive yet informative way. She also shows great subject knowledge when writing about archaeology, explaining it in a way that makes it easy to understand.

I was pleased that the culprit turned out to be someone who was not an obvious choice and that, happily, the character of Cathbad has evolved into someone much more likeable!

The next book in the series awaits!

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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