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I loved Elly Griffith's first book so much that when the second came out, I bought it right away -- something I almost never do. I usually wait for a second-hand copy to become available. I enjoyed the second book, and the third, too, but not as much. This one? Not at all. The author has subtly changed genre, and this doesn't interest me anymore.
The earlier books focused on Ruth Galloway, an archaeologist and single mother, which was an interesting combination, and meant a mystery focused on ancient remains, their origins and what might have occurred. The series has now taken off in a different direction. Now the focus is equally on one of the other characters, Cathbad, a Druid, and now seems to center on his occult beliefs, rituals, super powers and abilities. We still get Ruth dealing with her young daughter, but the emphasis has definitely changed.
In reading other reader's comments, I understand that many love this new direction, the Druidical hocus-pokus, the spells and charms. I don't. I liked the more traditional detective tale involving ancient remains and what happened to them.
It's all a matter of taste -- this book with its phantasmagorical storyline just wasn't interesting to me. I won't bother with subsequent books.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
I was disappointed in the previous Ruth Galloway mystery (The House at Sea's End). Three stars disappointed. I actually said that I wasn't looking forward to forensic anthropology with a toddler. However, the author made a decision to have a significant event in the relationship between Ruth and her baby's father happen between books that actually seems to help the story arc in my opinion.
The story opens with the death of a director of a small local museum. He is found lying dead beside the coffin of a medieval bishop that had been excavated from a site that had once been a church and then an industrial site. The window is open, a single shoe lies on the floor and a guide book whose pages riffle in the breeze. Ruth Galloway, forensic anthropologist, finds the body. Murder or natural causes? A drug habit might argue one, but menacing letters in his desk drawer might argue the other.
The museum also houses some Australian aborigine bones that a group calling itself the Elginists (Lord Elgin's marbles but I'm not sure why they named themselves after the guy who took the marbles from the Parthenon) want repatriated. These bones were collected by the ancestor of the founder of the museum, Lord Smith. Lord Smith is also a racing stable owner, married with three adult children, one of whom helps with the stable, one who is a successful QC and one who is a wastrel.
Meanwhile Harry Nelson's team is also dealing with the importation of high quality drugs from over seas that apparently no one in the criminal community knows about.
The disentangling all of the threads kept me interested through the entire story. There was one thing that niggled at me after I finished the book but I can't tell it without spoilers so I just have to say that it might bother others also.
I gave this book 4 stars because it was a better than average entertainment even with the occasional fault.
P.S. Jane McDowell does her usual good job with the narration.
15 of 16 people found this review helpful
I'm glad to say that my misgivings in my review of Book 3 of the series were premature and the author has created another intriguing and interesting story that isn't a repetition of the same formula as the preceding books. Most of the characters of previous stories return and part of the pleasure is finding out what happens to them next. I remain convinced that these books are best listened to in chronological order. There's more mysticism in this book as Cathbad, the Druid friend of forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway, plays a big part in the story. A minor criticism is that an author who takes care to get her scientific facts correct, makes the error of thinking that viruses and fungal infections are treated with antibiotics.
I'm enjoying the series and am galloping through them in my eagerness to follow the lives of the characters who seem so real.
The narrator does the author proud in bringing the characters to life and is consistent in her accents across the books.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Once again Ruth Galloway gets caught up in solving a crime she never wanted to get involved with which brings her in contact with her love. All sorts of lovely twists and turns throughout as usual to keep the reader interested with characters who are totally believable. And thankfully a decent narrated was used who is capable of voicing the different characters making it so much easier to listen to. I have read the first 3 books in this series and none of them have disappointed - this a series I will definitely continue following
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is just a tool in which to put the author's own prejudices and propaganda! Story so far fetched I was utterly disappointed! Save your time and money and leave this author alone! There are so many excellent writers and well told books to enjoy - and this author is NOT one of them!!
Good story but aussie accent of one of the characters pretty cringeworthy for real Australians and mystic aboriginal ceremony refs also seem a bit overly mysterious. good that author improving awareness about archaeological ethics and the dark side of colonial settlement in australia.