As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Quercus, 4 February 2016. ISBN: 978 1 78429 237 9
A new Ruth Galloway title from Elly Griffiths is always a treat, and The
Woman in Blue doesn’t disappoint.
focus of the action remains in Norfolk, this time centring on Walsingham, where
tourists and pilgrims abound, especially around Easter. The Virgin Mary is a
key figure in the town, and when a beautiful woman in a blue robe appears in a
churchyard, it’s unclear at first whether she is real or a vision.
Ruth is asked to play detective herself, by an old acquaintance who is
receiving hate mail of a particularly vicious kind. The acquaintance is a woman
priest, in Walsingham for a conference along with several others; the
letter-writer is violently opposed to women in the priesthood.
first murder seems unconnected with the letters; the second strikes closer to
home, and Ruth finds herself embroiled whether she wants to be or not.
archaeologist Ruth’s involvement with the police is only peripheral and
occasional – she acts as a consultant when old bones are unearthed – one of the
big challenges in a series is to create one situation after another in which
she can take a hand in a murder investigation. It helps that DCI Harry Nelson,
head of the Serious Crimes Unit, is the father of her five-year-old daughter;
but it still takes skill to entangle Ruth with complex investigations and keep
the storyline credible. Elly Griffths succeeds unquestionably, here as always,
even without ancient skeletons to identify.
usual cast of characters are firmly in place, each developing a little further
as they have in every title in this engaging series. Neanderthal Sergeant
Clough is in love, and mellowing; part-time druid Cathbad is settling down to
domesticity; Nelson’s glamorous wife Michelle is having an emotional crisis.
Ruth herself is coping well with single motherhood (though many mums would love
to share her wonderfully obliging childminder) and beginning to come to terms
with her feelings for Nelson. It all forms an engrossing backcloth to the
murder investigation, and Walsingham comes to life as a suitably spooky
also offers a wry take on women priests, who, it seems, are as capable of
getting drunk and raucous as any group of thirty-somethings, much to Ruth’s
surprise. I sometimes wonder if Ruth’s sardonic view of the world mirrors the
author’s own; whether or not this is the case, she’s one of my favourite
characters in fiction –independent
though still a little vulnerable, flawed in a thoroughly human way, far more
clearsighted than she or anyone else gives her credit for.
Griffths has struck fictional gold with Ruth Galloway, and The Woman In Blue
is one of her best so far. Long may Ruth continue.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
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 six further novels featuring forensic
archaeologist Ruth Galloway, The Janus Stone,The House at Seas End,
A Room Full of Bones, Dying Fall, The Outcast Deadandtwo books in anew series set in the 1950’s.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.