A Dying Fall – a Ruth Galloway Mystery

9780547798165_p0_v1_s260x420For fans of Elly Griffiths’ archeology professor/detective, Ruth Galloway is back in A Dying Fall, the fifth of the mystery series.  Since Ruth is an expert on ancient bones, this mystery involves the possible remains of King Arthur, found by Ruth’s colleague, who has been brutally murdered in a mysterious fire just as he was on the verge of a major discovery.

All the regulars are back: Cathbad, the hippie druid; Harry Nelson, chief of police, married to a beautiful hairdresser, and father to Ruth’s daughter, Kate; as well the many minor characters who fill the space with the angst of their lives.  To remind faithful readers who they are, or to introduce them to newcomers, Griffiths painstakingly fills in their backgrounds – to the point that the plot lingers in the background too long.  When the action finally gets past the soap opera lives of the principals, you may have forgotten the reason for the investigation.

In this fifth book, Griffiths moves the action from the marshes of Norwich to Blackpool and the mystical Pendle forest.  As she continues her dead colleague’s research, Ruth and her toddler daughter become the target of the killer.  Along the way, Griffiths infuses the plot with lovely descriptions of the English surroundings…

“Beyond Ruth’s fence, the long grass is tawny and gold with the occasional flash of dark blue water as the marsh leads out to the sea. In the distance, the sand glimmers like a mirage…

Having read the first four in this series, I knew what to expect from the characters and looked forward to a new mystery to solve.  Each book seemed to be wordier than the one before, but still held suspense.  This last book is no exception.  This ending is a little far-fetched, and could have appeared many pages sooner.

Reviews of other books in the Ruth Galloway Series:

  1. The Crossing Places
  2. The Janus Stone
  3. House At Seas End
  4. A Room Full of Bones
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A Room Full of Bones – a Ruth Galloway mystery

Ruth Galloway, forensic archeologist/detective and now single mother, is back in Elly Griffiths A Room Full of Bone – solving a new crime with Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. This fourth book has more personal angst than the first three in the series, and the characters seem to have become stereotypes: Ruth, the dowdy but intelligent professor, with questionable academic friends; Nelson, the macho crime fighter whose conscience only twinges when he remembers he cheated on his wife and fathered a daughter with Ruth.

This crime is based on bones again (Ruth is an expert on bones). The story has the requisite dead bodies and possible suspects but it is not as compelling as Griffiths other Galloway mysteries. A Room Full of Bones was easy to put down and forget to pick up again.

Clare Ferguson, where are you?

Related Reviews:
The House at Seas End

House At Sea’s End

Feisty women detectives who can solve crimes, but have trouble handling their personal lives seems to be a good formula for mystery.  Before I got hooked on Julia Spencer Fleming’s Clare Ferguson series, I had found Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway, the British  forensic archeologist.  The cliffhanger at the end of the second book included the results of a romance with the local handsome  – and married – detective. Thanks to a friend who reminded me of the third book in this series – The House at Sea’s End is offering the next installment to the personal drama, and with more murders to be solved.

With the backdrop of the cold British cliffs of Norfolk, Ruth leads an investigation of six dead bodies, but this time she’s a single mother, juggling “babyminders”  and her career.  Griffiths fills in the backstory with references to her first two books, but the relationships are easy to decipher without reminders of past crimes solved.  Solving the many murders is fun with World War II espionage and a secret message Ruth cracks by deciphering a dead man’s code – but the romance is better.

Not a long wait to find out what happens next with Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson – Griffiths has another mystery in the series to be published soon – The House of Bones – more progress on the romance and more murders to be solved.  If you like Clare’s mystery/romance escapades, you might enjoy Ruth too.

Read my reviews of Elly Griffiths’ first two books:

The Janus Stone – the second Ruth Galloway mystery

the two-faced god Janus

“Janus…the god of beginnings and endings.  January is named after him…”

Elly Griffiths starts the year appropriately with The Janus Stone, the second in the series of her Ruth Galloway mysteries.

Galloway, the British forensic archeologist, once again pursues a case full of ancient references, historical digs, and crazed murderers.  Griffiths is careful to fill in the back-story, if you haven’t read The Crossing Places, the first book that sets the scene in the gloomy Saltmarsh on the Norfolk coast of England.

In The Janus Stone, our heroine is forty, unmarried, and pregnant.  I found myself

more enthralled with the soap opera than the crime solving, this time.  Eventually, the action speeds up to name the unlikely murderer, but Griffith cleverly leaves the private lives hanging for the next installment – The House at Sea’s End –  due to be published this month.

If you haven’t read the first one, here is the review on The Crossing Places

https://ncbookbunch.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/the-crossing-places-a-ruth-galloway-mystery/