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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Review: A Room Full of Bones, Elly Griffiths (England)

Title:                                  A Room Full of Bones
Author:                              Elly Griffiths
Place/Date of Publication:   2012, McClelland & Stewart, Toronto
ISBN #:                             978-0-7710-3603-3
Number of Pages:              346
Discovered by:                   previously reading this series
Also Available in:               Kobo ebook, Kindle ebook
Link to author's website:

A newly unearthed coffin is delivered by two police officers to the Local History Room of the small family-owned Smith Museum. Neil Topham, the curator, is excited it has arrived and can hardly wait until Doctor Ruth Galloway, head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk, arrives to confirm the contents. Is this the body of  fourteenth century Bishop Augustine Smith, the most well-known member in the Smith family lineage? But by the time Ruth arrives, she has two bodies to examine: Neil is lying dead on the floor beside the coffin.

This is the fourth in the Ruth Galloway series and the usual support cast is back: DCI Harry Nelson, his team DS Clough and DS Johnson, and the Druid Cathbad, among others. Unfortunately, the story is again narrated in the present tense, which has always felt rather jarring to read. There are too many incomplete references to past books in the series, most of which are not necessary for this story. The reader is either aware of the past and requires only a subtle passing comment to be reminded, or they are unaware and will remain mystified by the references. Ruth seems to have little to do with the mystery and much of her time in the book is focused on her complicated personal situation.The various diverse story lines did not hold together well and the latter chapters seem to be used to catch up the various characters on what they missed.

Although I enjoyed the first two books of this series, Ruth's personal life is starting to dominate the latter books, with little connection to the underlying mysteries.

The series:
The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea's End

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