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Wednesday 5 February 2020

‘The Lantern Men’ by Elly Griffiths

The 6th February 2020 sees the publication of the
12th book in the highly aclaimed series by Elly Griffiths featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway.
Available in Hardback, eBook and Audio.
‘The Lantern Men’ by Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus, 6 February 2020. ISBN: 978-1-78747-753-7 (HB)

At the beginning of The Lantern Men, anyone who grabs a new book by Elly Griffths straight off the printing press – and there are a lot of us about – will be wondering what on earth she has done with Ruth Galloway. Ruth is no longer head of forensic archaeology at the University of North Norfolk; she and her daughter Kate, now nine, aren't living in their cottage on the bleak and beautiful Saltmarsh anymore. Instead, they have set up house in Cambridge with Frank Barker, the American author with whom Ruth has had an on-off relationship over several books.

Ruth wasn't even called in as an expert witness on DCI Nelson's last case; her former boss Phil Trent did the job instead. But now Ivor March, the murderer Nelson has just put away, is offering vital information on more bodies – provided Ruth heads up the dig which will reveal them. And that's when things start to get complicated, and not only for Nelson's investigation.

Elly Griffiths rarely strikes a wrong note, and there are certainly none in The Lantern Men, despite that surprising start. A question that lurks in the back of any reviewer's mind is, how does an author keep a series fresh? Griffiths does it not only by introducing complex, sharply drawn new characters, but also by never letting her regular cast stand still. The old favourites are all there. Judy Johnson is now a DI. So is Cloughie, but he has moved away from Kings Lynn, though not so far away that he can't get involved. Laura, Nelson's eldest daughter, has come to terms with her father's relationship with Ruth which resulted in Kate, and is now great friends with her half-sister. Ruth and Nelson... but no, that's enough spoilers; you'll have to read the book to find out.

One of Griffiths's great strengths has always been an acute sense of atmosphere, and she is just as much at home in the slightly claustrophobic academic ambience of Cambridge as in Norfolk's big skies and wide-open spaces. Between a spooky evening in an ancient college and a nail bitingly scary chase scene, she evokes the worst of both worlds side by side with their beauty and grandeur.

Every Elly Griffiths novel has kept me reading into the small hours, and The Lantern Men was no exception. As if the murders at its centre weren't enough, it even had an extra thread of suspense: what does the future hold for Ruth Galloway? Will it be Cambridge, or will the pull of the Saltmarsh prove too strong? If you're already a fan, I guarantee you'll love it; if you're not, I recommend you put that right straight away!
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 ten further novels featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway.  Recently she has written a second series set in the 1950’s featuring magician Max Mephisto and DI Stevens. There are five books in the new series. Click on the title to read a review of Elly’s latest Max Mephisto Book. Now You see Them

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.

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