A Dying Fall; A Ruth Galloway Mystery by Elly Griffiths
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 978-0547798165
March 5, 2013, 400 pages
It is shocking when Ruth Galloway finds out that her old university friend Dan Golding has died. She had not been in contact with him for years, but at one point in her life he was one of her small band of friends. She is even more upset when she finds out that it appears he was murdered, the front door to his house locked from the outside after a fire was set, trapping him inside. But who would want to kill Dan, an unknown archaeologist in a small unknown college?
Then Ruth receives a letter, sent by the dead man shortly before his death. He talks about a discovery he has made, a huge discovery that will change history...and about being very afraid. So when Dan's boss from his university ask Ruth to head up to Blackpool and check out the discovery...she being a renowned bone specialist...in a flash, she is packing up her wee daughter Kate, and with friend and part time Druid priest Cathbad along to visit a friend, heading to the scene to check out this discovery.
Cue the Neo-Nazis, the King Arthur fans, and a range of Old Religion followers to enter stage left, all with their own dangerous agenda, Ruth right in their sights.
Happily, she is not alone.
Her good friend..and Kate's father...DCI Harry Nelson...is vacationing nearby, visiting family with his wife. For those who have not read the previous four books, let it be known that who Kate's father is is not a total secret. Harry knows..as does his wife..which, of course, leads to a few problems. Harry loves his wife dearly, but he can not deny his connection to his latest daughter, or, in a different way, to Ruth as well.
The development of this story line is just one reason I love this series..and one reason why this is one series you really should read in order. Which, believe me, is not a trial, since every one of the book has been very good. As with many of the storylines in these books, the plot here is clever, with enough red herrings to keep you guessing. Not unusual, but I picked the wrong person as the murderer.
Without question, one major reason I like this series so much is Ruth, one of my favorite characters of all time. She is...very smart, rather overweight, about as far from glamorous as a woman can be, curious, a very messy housekeeper, unlucky with men, a respected professor, a rather grumpy introvert, someone who never expected, especially as she will not see 40 again, to be a mother..and yet is a wonderful, if rather unconventional, mom. She is very real and very likable and surrounded by a great cast.
Her relationship with Harry is without question interesting, even more so since his wife has found out he is Kate's father. I must say, she has taken it better than most women would. But we have to think that Ruth's and Harry's continued interactions...if even now only on a professional basis...will take it's toll.
And I do love the setting of the books, centered around Ruth's lonely rather ramshackle cottage on the marshy coastline of Norfolk, the Saltmarsh. I am not sure I would want to be living there on a stormy winter night as the tide comes closer, but Ruth talks it in stride and it adds great atmosphere to the books.
Yes, it is another series I am recommending...but it is only five books so far. Now is the time to start it before it gets out of hand! lol
Good plots, good settings, good..no great..characters...really, you need to be reading these books.