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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!

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!

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