Wednesday, March 06, 2013

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths


First Line: At first he isn't even scared.

Dr. Ruth Galloway's old university friend Dan Golding has died in a house fire. Still reeling from that news, Dan's death is put in an entirely different light when she receives a letter he wrote and posted to her just before he died. In the letter, Dan tells Ruth that he's made a great archaeological discovery, and that he's scared for his life.

When the department head at the university asks Ruth to come up to examine the bones Dan found, she packs up her eighteen-month-old daughter, Kate, and they (along with family friend Cathbad) make the journey to Blackpool, Lancashire-- home of Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson.

Once on campus, Ruth ignores the information about right-wing groups spouting hatred and racial slurs and focuses on the bones. Dan mentioned only one clue in his letter-- the Raven King. Ruth knows that this is an ancient name for King Arthur. Quick examination reveals a surprising fact about King Arthur, but when she returns a second time to examine them thoroughly, the bones have disappeared.

Nelson just happens to be in Blackpool visiting his mother. Naturally he gets drawn into the investigation, especially when it appears that Ruth and Kate may be in danger. Someone seems to be willing to kill to keep those bones a secret.

This is the fifth strong entry in the series about forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway. She's a rather plain, plump woman in her early forties who's a single working mother. She's the furthest thing from glamorous, but she's got a mind like a steel trap... especially now that she's devised a routine for Kate that means she can get some badly needed sleep, too. Yes, this is a series that is character rich: Ruth, Kate, Cathbad the Druid, DCI Harry Nelson, Nelson's gorgeous wife, and more. These are even characters that you can take sides over. You can tsk tsk over Ruth's indiscretion with Harry, or you can decide not to like Harry because, as a married man, he should've known better than to sleep with Ruth. You can take sides with the wronged wife, or you can decide that Mrs. Nelson is at fault for what Harry did. Or... you can just enjoy them all as adults who can and do make mistakes. These are people I'd want to meet in the evening down at the local pub. Share a pint, share the news, share our lives.

But there's a good mystery contained in these pages along with all the latest doings of those fully-fleshed characters, and some heart-in-your-throat high octane action. If you need anything else, just add in some fascinating information about King Arthur. Dr. Ruth Galloway knows her anthropology and archaeology, and I always appreciate learning from her.

Action, danger, history, a puzzling whodunit, and a fascinating cast of characters. Haven't read any of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mysteries? What's stopping you?

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
ISBN: 9780547798165
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt © 2013
Hardcover, 400 pages

Forensic Archaeology, #5 Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery
Rating: A
Source: NetGalley

20 comments:

  1. Cathy - Wonderful review, for which thanks. But I've a confession; I'd probably read this even if I hadn't read your excellent review because I'm that much of an Elly Griffiths fan. She's so skilled at creating atmosphere and establishing setting, and I do love her Ruth Galloway character.

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    1. It sounds as though we should be card-carrying members of the Elly Griffiths Fan Club, Margot!

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  2. I read Elly Griffiths' The Crossing Places (probably at your recommendation) and liked it. I've ordered this book and, in the next six or eight weeks, I'm going to have a go at it too. Thanks.

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    1. You're welcome, Joe. I'm so glad you enjoyed The Crossing Places!

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  3. I think with this series I find the personal stuff as good as the crime plots. Each book I'm anxious to see how 'things' have developed. Love, love, love this series so hope to get hold of this one *soon*.

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    1. I have to be honest and say that I'm a bit more interested in the personal stuff than I am the plot!

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  4. I have to say I'm glad to see there's a protagonist who's not glamorous out there. This sounds really good to me!

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    1. Yes, a tiny bit of glamor goes an incredibly long way with me.

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  5. I'm so glad she has a new book out, I've read them all and liked them. Thanks for the review,Cathy!
    ~Dorothy~

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  6. Yea! I just love this series so much, so I can't wait to get my hands on the newest book. Thanks!

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    1. Sounds as though there are several members of the Elly Griffiths Fan Club here today, and I think it's wonderful!

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  7. Love the review, Cathy. I've read all the books so far in this series, and am anxiously waiting for this new one. I really like the personal details, they enrich each story. I like Nelson, and Michelle, and especially Ruth. I think it's an interesting love triangle, unusual in mysteries. I love the setting in Norfolk, and spend half my time when reading this series wishing I was there at Ruth's house!

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    1. I love the Norfolk setting, too, Susan. I hope to visit it one day!

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  8. Actually, I'm a member of the Ruth Galloway Fan Club. I love her character, and do not hold her personal foibles against her. She's not perfect, she's a real person, not glamorous, doesn't know five languages or karate, isn't a snob.

    If I knew her, I hope we'd be friends, be able to have coffee or tea together and chat.

    Meanwhile, I'll read about her and am awaiting this book from the library, having read the first four.

    And the area around Norfolk sounds intriguing. I bumped into a woman in a park who is from that region and told her about this series.

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    1. Wouldn't it be great to meet them all down at the pub of an evening? :-)

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  9. Now that I know this is part of a series, I'm not sure I will read it anytime soon, but I loved your review, and the cover alone makes me want this one.

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    1. Ryan, I respect you and whatever your reasons may be for putting this book lower down the TBR stack, but as a diehard fan of the series, all I really want to say is... oh, poo! ;-(

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  10. Count me in as another Griffiths fan..can wait to start this newest one!

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    1. I really think you'll like it, Caite!

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Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!