The call could not have come at a better time. Dr. Ruth Galloway needs a break from her personal life, so when archaeologist Angelo Morelli asks her to come to the Italian countryside to consult on the identification of some bones he uncovered, she accepts. She and her best friend Shona pack up their two young children and head off to what will be, for Ruth, a working holiday.
Ruth doesn't even have time to get her bearings at the site of the dig when she senses that World War II rests uneasily, barely beneath the surface of the town and that the townspeople are custodians of a long-buried secret. She's thrown completely off-balance when Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson shows up. Then everything is thrown upside down when Ruth's findings tie into a present-day death. From that point on, Ruth and Nelson find themselves trying to solve a murder Italian style.
The Dark Angel, Elly Griffiths' tenth Ruth Galloway mystery, is a little light on the mystery and a little heavier on the personal lives of the characters-- but since I find this particular cast among the very best (and most interesting) in crime fiction, I don't particularly mind.
It was really good to see Ruth in a completely different setting, to see that she did get out and about, see new places, know other people, before settling down in King's Lynn with her work and eventual motherhood. But-- wouldn't you know it-- she overpacks for this holiday and manages to bring her troubles with her.
The mystery, weighted as it is in the Italian Resistance movement during World War II, is an interesting one, but there's so much going on in the characters' lives that it did take a bit of a backseat. There are developments in Ruth's life, and I like how we are now getting another point of view on proceedings, that of Nelson's daughter Laura.
I love Elly Griffiths' atmospheric settings and her mysteries that always have a foundation in archaeology, but if you're a character-driven reader like I am, you're going to love the cast in this series. A Ruth Galloway mystery always feels like a "slice of life" to me. I enjoy this series so much that I can't wait for the US edition to be released; I buy the UK edition so I can get my hands on it quicker. For those of you who have much more patience than I, you'll be able to get your hands on The Dark Angel in mid-May. For those of you who aren't acquainted with Ruth and Nelson and the rest of the gang, please start with the first book, The Crossing Places-- and don't be surprised if you find yourself looking for the rest of the books in the series once you've finished it.
The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Quercus © 2018
Hardcover, 368 pages
Police Procedural, #10 Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery
Source: Purchased from The Poisoned Pen.