I was captured by Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series from the first book, The Crossing Places (my review) and the second - The Janus Stone. (my review)
So I settled in to read the third - The House at Sea's End - knowing before turning a page that I would enjoy it.
Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is ready to return to work from maternity leave. When a local research team discovers a skeleton during an erosion study in Norfolk, Ruth is called in. When they delve further into the little cave where the body seems to have been hidden, five more skeletons are discovered - all with their hands tied behind their backs. Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson is then called in. Further investigation reveals a wartime link that someone doesn't want uncovered.
I have so enjoyed the character of Ruth. I think it's because she isn't a 'cookie-cutter' protagonist. She is a new, single mother at forty, she is overweight, messy, and doesn't overly worry about what people think. But she is highly intelligent, empathetic and tolerant. Griffiths has not endowed her with super sleuth abilities, rather she comes off as an actual person - unabashedly and happily herself. Her only worry is if she'll be a good mom.
Griffiths' plots are also very intelligent. I was able to solve the clues leading to one piece of the puzzle ahead of the characters, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. I always enjoy the setting in the books - the Norfolk area, while seemingly bleak is beautiful in Ruth's eyes. I used the map in the frontispiece to place where the action was happening. While I enjoy the mystery in Griffiths' books, it is the characters I come back for.
The father of Ruth's baby is DCI Harry Nelson, married father of two. Their (non) relationship, evolved over the course of the first two books, has resulted in baby Kate. Where will it go from here? I can't wait to see what happens next with their lives and the ending was perfect cliffhanger.
The supporting cast is wonderfully eclectic. Cathbad, the self proclaimed Druid is one of my favourites. He's quite enigmatic, showing up just when needed and seems to see and recognize things that others don't. I hope his interaction with a member of Nelson's staff is taken further. Archaeologist Trace is a character I can't quite nail down - it's nice not being able to second guess where the author is going to take her characters. I did find a 'visiting' character, a friend of Ruth's called Tatjana, to be a bit awkward. I understood her contribution to the story, but she never rang as true as the other players.
Griffiths has created an engaging series, one I am hooked on. I can't wait to read the fourth book - A Room Full of Bones. Read an excerpt of The House at Sea's End.
You can find Griffiths on Twitter and on Facebook.