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Friday, 8 February 2013

‘Dying Fall’ by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus,
11 February, 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-85738-887-2

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is saddened when she is contacted by her Caz her university friend, who tells her that her old friend Dan Golding, the coolest archaeologist ever, has been killed in a fire at his home in Lancashire.  Whilst preparing dinner for herself, and her eighteen-month-old daughter Kate, Ruth reflects on Dan and is dismayed that she had not kept in closer touch, and that she will now never hear from him again.  The next day brings a letter.

Dan is certain he has made a huge discovery but needs an opinion on the bones, Ruth’s area of expertise.  He thinks that he has found the tomb of the Raven King. Unnervingly, he writes that he is afraid!  With this in mind Ruth contacts DCI Harry Nelson, who comes from Lancashire, to ask if he has a contact in the area.  Harry learns from his old mate Sandy Macleod at Blackpool CID that there are suspicious circumstances.

When she receives a call from Clayton Henry at Pendle University concerning Dan’s discovery she is intrigued and decides to take up their offer. Unbeknown to her, Harry, who is owed some holiday, had suggests to his wife that they should take a holiday in Blackpool.

Accompanied by Cathbad, Kate’s Druid godfather, they travel north. Arriving at Dan’s University Ruth meets Dan’s colleagues, who all seem on edge.  A Neo-Nazi group at Dan's University has been making threats and it is possible that some of these colleagues could be involved. Certainly they all seem to be hiding something. Another death draws Ruth further into the mystery, which puts her and Kate in danger.

This is the fifth book in this series and Elly Griffiths has surpassed herself. The mystery is intriguing, keeping the reader constantly on edge and avid to read what happens next. But also the development of the characters makes this a fascinating story. Kate is now almost two and is clearly a strong character. Cathbad, who in the early books I was unsure of is now a marvellous part of Ruth and Kate’s life.   Although Ruth has established a relationship with her friend Max who lives in Brighton, I got the feeling that this time away is making her reassess her life – but maybe that’s natural when we learn of the untimely death of a friend.  Whether you have read the earlier books in the series or not, I heartily recommended that you do not miss this book, which is already on my top ten best books of the year.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Elly Griffiths is the author of a series of crime novels set in England’s Norfolk county and featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. The first in the series, Crossing Places, earned a good deal of praise both in Griffiths’ native country, England, and in the U.S. The Literary Review termed it “a cleverly plotted and
extremely interesting first novel, highly recommended.  Since then Elly has written four further novels featuring forensic archaeologist, The Janus Stone, The House at Seas End, A Room Full of Bones. Her latest book is Dying Fall. See page 16 for a review of this book.

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