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gertrude

November 2017

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The Outcast Dead, Elly Griffiths

outcastdead

This book was recommended by Geranium Cat so I requested it from NetGalley and was lucky enough to get it. I’m so glad, because this is the first book by Elly Griffiths I’ve read and I was very impressed, even though it’s written in the present tense, which usually irritates me.

I love the title of this book and what it stands for: a prayer for the unknown dead buried in plague pits and paupers’ graves. Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist, currently excavating what may be the grave of a notorious Victorian childminder and child killer, known as Mother Hook. To Ruth’s embarrassment, the work at the dig is being filmed for TV. At the same time there are two abductions of babies, both in the care of childminders, plus a possible baby murder, in the Norwich area. Ruth is involved because one of the babies is the child of a friend and the investigating officer is the father of her own baby daughter. To complicate matters, she’s attracted to Frank, an American historian working on the film. There’s nothing like a hunt for a missing child to create tension and the book builds towards a nail biting finish. The story of Mother Hook is linked to the present day events, which adds to the interest.

The book seems to be about real people in the real modern world, with all its complicated relationships. I believed in the characters and sympathised with them. I really liked all the up to date details about what children watch on television and adults listen to on the radio (many’s the time I have found Today in Parliament a soothing aid to sleep); this is a recognisable world of normal life interrupted by horrors. Now that I’ve read this, I’ll certainly be looking out for the five previous books about Ruth Galloway. If they’re all as well written as this one, I’m in for a treat.

Comments

(Anonymous)

I have enjoyed all of Ellie Griffiths books. She spoke at an authors event at our local library (sadly a victim of cuts and now closed) few years ago.
Hope you are well, I do still read your blog but have difficulty commenting. Hope this works.
Very Best Wishes
Oddny
Hello there, sorry to hear you have trouble commenting. Anonymous comments on LJ are always screened until the poster accepts them.

I hope our library will have some Elly Griffiths. The nearest, small one, is now a 'community library', i.e. run by volunteers. Who'd be a trained librarian?

Thanks for the good wishes, which are reciprocated!
I love Ruth Galloway. I discovered the series just over a year ago and was hooked straightaway. My current favourite detective series.
Now I'm hooked as well! Shows how useful blog recommendations can be.
:)

Happy birthday, young lady!
Thank you! Ha ha ha.
I have read a couple of books in this series and enjoyed them very much. This one is on my want list, waiting for Amazon to release it next month.
I see everyone beat me to the discovery! It's so nice to find a new series to enjoy.
I'm very glad you enjoyed it - have fun reading the rest!

And thank you, very humbly, for pointing out my utterly appalling mistake on my post about Martyr - I'm sure that was entirely me, and my brain was obviously elsewhere when I wrote it. Hideously embarrassing! But I'd been correcting other people's bibliographies all day and I was feeling a bit grey round the edges.
I'm sure I will.

Sorry, I thought the error was the author's! Easily done when you're tired. I still don't think that book is for me.

The Outcast Dead

I love the Ruth Galloway books for all the reasons you mention. I've read them all - except this one, which hasn't been released in the US yet (March, I believe). I can't wait!

Re: The Outcast Dead

I really am late to the party with Elly Griffiths! Looking forward to reading the rest.
I think this is one for me! I really enjoy this kind of subject (murder mysteries etc).
A really good story, but not gruesome!