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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

From fairy tales in a Vermont forest in The Winter People to legends of King Arthur in Elly Griffiths' 5th book, A Dying Fall.  Makes me a happy reader.  I love this series that relates the adventures of Dr. Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, her little daughter, Kate, and her various friends and colleagues in Norfolk.  And in this book, the reader gets to follow Ruth into DCI Nelson's home patch, Blackpool, as she is asked to consult about some bones discovered by her old university friend, Dan Golding.  

Ruth Galloway is a wonderful character, real and ordinary in a very special way.  She is passionate about her job, loves her daughter, has a very complicated relationship with Harry Nelson, DCI in King's Lynn.  She is saddened to learn that her old friend, Dan Golding, has been killed.  She's shocked to receive a letter from Dan the day after she learns of his death.  Dan's letter tells of a fantastic discovery that he thinks he has made, the bones of The Raven King, aka King Arthur.  However, Dan also says that he is very afraid.  After hearing from Clayton Henry, Dan's boss at Pendle University, Ruth travels to the northern regions along with Kate and Cathbad, her Druid friend.  What she finds is a secret group of Arthur fanatics, tales of the Pendle witches, a conspiracy known as the White Hand, and DCI Nelson, on vacation, visiting family and his old work colleagues. 

Elly Griffiths did a good job taking the reader away from Norfolk and Ruth's beloved salt marshes.  We get to see a bit more of Nelson's past history and we get to spend time learning about Blackpool, The Pendle Forest, and all the hoopla that surrounds this seaside pleasure spot.  There are rides of all kinds, Nickelodean World, sand castles, and murder.  It's always a pleasure to see the interaction between Ruth and Nelson, even though they still are not quite sure what they are to each other.  

Little Kate is a joy to read about.  She loves Dora the Explorer and her toy cars and trains.  She makes her mother crazy by rushing to the phone when it rings and answering by saying, "Piss!", which means "peace", a greeting taught to her by her godfather, Cathbad.  And, of course, she loves to dig in the mud.  Budding archaeologist. 

The mystery unfolds in a meandering manner for much of the book, kind of like a relaxing vacation.  However, the action ramps up, another body is found, and Ruth, who has been receiving anonymous texts with warnings to go home, is terrified as little Kate goes missing.   

This is a great series.  I encourage everyone to try it.  The first book is The Crossing Places.  If you like books about bones and digs and interesting settings, legends and the sea, a protagonist that is not a size 0 and a regular person that you could share a coffee with, this is the one.  I'll be picking up the next book in the series soon, The Outcast Dead.  

26 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of well-written mysteries that seem to offer something more than just the solving of the mystery itself, it that makes any sense. I like the idea of the whole 'relaxing vacation' with the sudden action.

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    1. This is a lovely series, Jillian. If you like a little detail about legends and archaeological finds, it would definitely appeal. Plus the wonderful characters.

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  2. I adore this series... for exactly the reasons you state. How nice to have a main female character who's normal and not glamorous and stick thin... and has normal problems too. I love the setting and the history and, well, *everything*. One of my favourite current crime series and this book was just great.

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    1. Cath, have you heard about her new book - Zig Zag Girl or something like that? Won't be published here until fall. Set in the '20's maybe. And, yes, I'm looking forward to the next one. I never can figure out what she will do with Ruth and Nelson, but I trust her find a balance that I can be comfortable with. She has, so far.

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    2. I just checked Fantastic Fiction and yes, you're right she does have a new book out, The Zig-Zag Girl and it sounds rather good. I shall look out for it. There is also a new Ruth Galloway, book 7, The Ghost Fields, out next month.

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  3. Just added The Crossing Places to my library list (on audio). It sounds like another winner of a series!

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    1. Les, I hope you'll try it and see what you think. I've liked there series very much. The first one has the whole salt marsh setting that is so very interesting.

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  4. I just reserved the first one in this series....I think I checked out The Janus Stone, but I am not sure if I ever read it. I'll have to go and look back through my reading log to see, but this sounds like a series I would enjoy.

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    1. Hope you do enjoy it, Tina. THE JANUS STONE was the second book as I remember. I do recall something about an orphanage and then, of course, Janus was the two-faced god.

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  5. This sounds interesting. I wasn't aware it was part of a series. I don't have a great track record with series these days.

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    1. Yes, Ti, I don't think series reading is for everyone. Me, I just like the story to go on and on and on.

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  6. First chance I've had to stop in for days! You make the book sound so good I'm almost sorry I quit the series part way through the first book. There was something about her I just didn't like, and I don't even remember now. Plus, it was a wee bit dark, I think.

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    1. I understand, Nan. And this is a series that can be dark at times - lots of legends, which are often creepy.

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  7. I really have to get back to this series. The last book I read, Kate was just a baby.

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    1. Kate is now almost 2, I think. An age that is memorable for most parents. LOL

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  8. I loved Crossing Places. Will have to add this to my list.

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    1. This whole series is so good, Gayle.

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  9. Ok, will have to check out this series too! You're one of my bookblogger friends who are sure making my wishlist goes longer!! ☺

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    1. Yes, Melody, I have the same problem as I read other blogs. LOL

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  10. You always have the best series recommendations!

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  11. I love this series too. I just like that Ruth is so normal. You feel like she's someone you know right? I am caught up on this series (shock, I know!) and am waiting for the next one which I think is coming out this fall.

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    1. Actually, the new Ruth book will be out in May. Yay!

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  12. I do really enjoy Elly Griffiths books and Ruth Galloway is a great lead character. I enjoyed this one although the pace is much slower than in some of the other books in the series.

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    1. This one did seem slower for the most part, but the ending was quite breathless.

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  13. Ruth Galloway sounds like a great character. I haven't tried this series, but I really like the premise of this book. I'll have to check out the first in the series.

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