Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

Title: The House at Sea's End
Author: Elly Griffiths
ISBN: 9780547506142
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012
Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, Police Procedural, #3 Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery
Rating: A
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!


  1. These just get better and better, like you I enjoy reading about Ruth personal life as much as the mystery. Book 4 is out this month I think. Can't wait.

  2. this is a great series and I agree with you that the balance between mystery and personal life is done well. I am awaiting the fourth book which is due to arrive on my doorstep any day now...one of the few books I will start reading as soon as I get my hands on it

  3. Let me add my voice to the two above in saying, I love this series, love the characters, can't wait for the next one (which is on it's way to me too). I also want to point out that each of these comes to a heart-stopping climax. You know the kind I mean. The ones where you can't catch your breath and read feverishly. Just sayin'...

  4. Cathy - Oh, I really do like this series!!! I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, too. Ruth Galloway is such an interesting character I think, and I agree that watching her relationship with Nelson evolve is really interesting, too, as the series progresses. #4, Here I come :-)

  5. I have to bump this up on my to get list! I am excited to get started on it! The cover on Frozen Assets is very intriguing can't wait for your review of it!

  6. I loved the first two in this series..and was so anxious to read the rest that I have this one, and the next, A Room Full of Bones, on the way from The Book Depository in the UK.
    I need my fix!

  7. Another series I haven't gotten to yet! This is getting discouraging and at the same time exciting because I know I always have such good reading ahead of me.

  8. sounds like a series I need to check out :)

  9. This series sounds so good! I am going to look it up on my Nook in a moment as it's a grey day here and perfect for an English mystery.

  10. Cath-- I'm forcibly restraining myself from purchasing that fourth book now as a UK edition!

    Bernadette-- Lucky you!

    Kay-- I know! I know! I could swear there's a choir in here! LOL

    Margot-- Fourth member to the Griffiths Choir!

    Peggy-- Frozen Assets is going well. The print is so tiny I wish it were on my Nook! LOL

    Caite-- Aaahhhh... nothing like a reading fix!

    Barbara-- I know what you mean, but I refuse to let it discourage me. It's only good news because it means I will never run out of books I want to read! :)

    PPh.D-- Yes, you do!

    Picky-- Grey days are good for curling up with a good book!

  11. Excellent review! I just bought it and am waiting for the weekend to read it - I don't want to be interrupted while reading these, they are so good! lol I can barely wait that long. you're right, that relationship between Ruth and Nelson is fascinating, isn't it? I was so excited to see that Book 4 is due out in Feb, too. Hurray! In the meantime, thank you for your lovely review of this one.

  12. Susan-- You're very welcome. Thank *you* fr stopping by!

  13. I've added the series to my wishlist - it certainly sounds intriguing

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  14. Shelleyrae-- It's an excellent series!


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