Elly Griffiths has just released The Lantern Men, the twelfth entry in the Ruth Galloway series. And I have to tell you - this series is one of my hands down favorites. I eagerly await each new book - and read it far too quickly.
Ruth is a forensic archaeologist. She is a lecturer as well and often helps out on police matters. In The Lantern Men, a convicted murderer will only reveal the location of four of his victims to Ruth. Why Ruth?
Griffiths's plotting is always detailed, the mysteries are always convincing, the police work realistic and the historical components are really well done. With many of the cases, I've gone online to read more about the history.
I've always enjoyed the setting of the Norfolk area - especially the marshes. And I would be quite happy to live in Ruth's wee cottage.
Oh, and the title? "The Lantern Men concerns the Norfolk legend of mysterious figures that prowl the marshes at night. It's said that travellers would see a man walking ahead of them and carrying a lantern. They would follow the light only to be led to their deaths on the treacherous ground."
But what draws me to this series are the characters. I adore the character of Ruth. I think it's because she isn't a 'cookie-cutter' protagonist. She's become a single mother later in life, she's hard on herself, generous with her friends, is highly intelligent, but shuns the spotlight. She's not beautiful in a conventional sense, but has that something that draws people to her. Griffiths has not endowed her with super sleuth abilities, rather she comes off as an actual person - unabashedly and happily herself. The supporting cast is just as well drawn, with self professed Druid Cathbad being my favorite. And of course there's DCI Nelson. He and Ruth's relationship is very complicated. Eager readers like myself have been waiting for this book to find out what happens next with the two of them. The Lantern Men jumps ahead two years to some unexpected happenings. (And eager readers, it ends with another open ended scenario for book thirteen. Can't wait!)
I highly, highly recommend this character driven mystery series. You could certainly read this book as a stand alone, but do yourself a favour and start with The Crossing Places, the first book.