Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Book description:
Ruth Galloway is shocked when she learns that her old university friend Dan Golding has died tragically in a house fire. But the death takes on a sinister cast when Ruth receives a letter from Dan written just before he died.

The letter tells of a great archaeological discovery, but Dan also says that he is scared for his life. Was Dan’s death linked to his find? The only clue is his mention of the Raven King, an ancient name for King Arthur.

Then Ruth is invited to examine the bones Dan found. Ruth travels to Lancashire–the hometown of DCI Nelson–with both her eighteen-month-old daughter, Kate, and her druid friend, Cathbad, in tow. She discovers a campus living in fear of a sinister right-wing group called the White Hand. She also finds that the bones revealed a shocking fact about King Arthur–and they’ve mysteriously vanished. When Nelson, visiting his mother in Blackpool, learns about the case, he is drawn into the investigation, especially when Ruth and his beloved Kate seem to be in danger. Who is willing to kill to keep the bones a secret?

This fifth installment in the Ruth Galloway series is an enjoyable read, if not as strong as those that came before. As Ruth finds herself pulled into the mysterious death of a colleague and the possible discovery of King Arthur's bones, she is also trying to navigate the complicated waters of her relationship with DC Nelson and his family. 

The mystery here isn't as compelling as those in earlier novels, a weakness that isn't offset by the side of the story that focuses on Galloway's complicated personal life. Frankly, I find that side of this particular series less interesting and though I like Ruth as an investigator, I often find her rather annoying as a character. I've never been particularly fond of Nelson either so when the mystery doesn't carry the story, I confess I am much less engaged.

A solid addition to the series but not a good starting point for any newcomer who will quickly be lost in the complicated backstory.

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