Ruth is a forensic archaeologist in the beautiful Norfolk area in England. She's head of her department at the University and often consults with the police on cases.
I really enjoy Ruth. I think it's because she isn't a 'cookie-cutter' protagonist. She is a single mother looking at her fifties. She's shy and reticent about accepting praise. 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 making sure her daughter Kate is happy as well. There's a large cast of supporting characters, including the local DCI Harry Nelson and a number of other well drawn, engaging players. The relationship between Nelson and Ruth is complicated and is one of the most intriguing storylines. My favorite after Ruth is Cathbad, a self proclaimed Druid. He's enigmatic and he seems to see and recognize things that the others don't. A wonderful little sense of the mystical is woven throughout this series.
The setting is also a large part of the books. Griffith's descriptions have had me exploring Norfolk online. I think I would enjoy living in her little cottage in the Saltmarsh, 'where the sea and the sky meet.'
The Night Hawks are a detectorist group who come upon a body - one recent and one very old. I am fascinated by the items that are found in the ground in Norfolk - the historical element of the books is quite informative and interesting. The mystery in each and every book is well plotted. This latest had me guessing to the end - I was quite surprised by the whodunit.
This series is so good on so many levels. But it is the characters that are the main draw for me. Griffiths always leaves the door open with a little teaser for the next book. For those that have read previous entries - it's a cliff hanger!
I highly, highly recommend this character driven mystery series. You could certainly read this book as a stand alone, but do yourself a favor and start with the first book, The Crossing Places.