Author: Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Police Procedural, #3 Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery
Source: Amazon Vine
First Line: The tide is out.
Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway has just returned from maternity leave and is discovering how very difficult it is to juggle a newborn baby and the career that she loves. She is called in when a team surveying the effects of erosion on the Norfolk coast find bones in a ravine along the shoreline.
The bones date to World War II, and when Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson and his men begin asking questions, a Home Guard veteran reveals the existence of a secret that he and some other old soldiers have vowed to keep "to the death." It would appear that someone doesn't trust the old man because he is killed... and then a German journalist shows up and begins asking his own questions. Someone is insisting that these secrets be kept. With Ruth's help, Harry intends to find that person before anyone else can die.
Although this third book in the series stands on its own well, I would suggest beginning at the beginning because the relationships between the characters grow and develop throughout the books. In some ways this series bears a superficial resemblance to Julia Spencer-Fleming's which features the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne, and Griffiths' series is every bit as strong.
Griffiths uses the setting of the crumbling cliffs and shoreline of Norfolk, England, as well as the ages of those who are hiding secrets to add tension and a sense of urgency to the book. In fact, I was so focused on the secretive old men that I completely forgot about trying to deduce the identity of the person who wanted the secrets kept the most.
Although the plot line involving World War II is absorbing, the ever-evolving relationship between Ruth and Harry is just as important. I really enjoyed watching Ruth trying to adapt to being a mother and Harry becoming more and more focused on a fascinating woman whom, not so very long ago, he never would've looked at twice.
Emotions will be coming to a boil. Lines will be drawn. Sides will be taken. And DCI Harry Nelson will continue to need Dr. Ruth Galloway's expertise with bones. This series just keeps on getting better. I've barely finished this book, and I'm already craving the next!