A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway Series #5)

A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway Series #5)

4.3 20
by Elly Griffiths

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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


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?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Old bones and Anglo-Saxon culture combine with fresh murder and contemporary hate groups in Griffiths’s intricately plotted fifth Ruth Galloway mystery (after 2012’s A Room Full of Bones). Ruth, a forensic archeologist and teacher, learns of the death by fire of a college friend and colleague, Dan Golding, the day before receiving a letter from Dan requesting her professional opinion. Dan has excavated the bones of a “Raven King,” who may be Arthur Pendragon. Single mother Ruth, along with her toddler daughter, Kate, and various others, including Kate’s father, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, all take summer holiday trips to the vicinity of the site of the murder and dig, where they encounter a host of suspect fellow academics and locals, including someone who sends Ruth warning text messages. Puzzle solvers may find the clues too subtle, but all will enjoy Ruth’s largely self-aware sardonic perspective on life, death, and relationships. Agent: Emma Thawley, rights director at Quercus (U.K.). (Mar.)
Library Journal
Forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway is called from her seaside cottage to Lancashire to investigate some bones found by a recently murdered college friend. A mysterious letter Ruth received from Dan shortly before his death mentioned the discovery of a skeleton that quite possibly might be the legendary King Arthur. With her 18-month-old daughter, Kate, and her druid friend Cathbad in tow, Ruth heads for the university. Though anthropology is not a particularly hot subject at the middle-class University of Pendle, the campus is buzzing with rumors of the potential Arthurian find and fearful of the threats of a sinister white supremacist group anxious to discredit the discovery. What began as a favor for a lost friend and a bit of a holiday rapidly becomes awash in danger and intrigue. Ruth’s former lover, DCI Harry Nelson, hears of the murder while visiting his mother in Blackpool and is drawn into the investigation. While Cathbad babysits young Kate, Ruth and the DCI pursue mayhem, murder, and missing bones. Why is the potential discovery of King Arthur so shocking and who is willing to kill to suppress the truth?

Verdict The fifth entry in Griffiths’s forensic series (A Room Full of Bones; The House at Sea’s End) is a satisfying mix of science, suspicion, murder, and druidic tradition. The complexity of Ruth’s relationship with DCI Nelson intensifies, and the questions surrounding the possible find of King Arthur lend just the right touch of gothic atmosphere to this wonderfully engaging read. Sure to be a hit with a wide range of mystery readers. [See Prepub Alert, 10/8/12.]—Susan Clifford Braun, Bainbridge Island, WA

(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A forensic archaeologist, a policeman and a druid pool their skills to find a murderer. Ruth Galloway's quiet routine of teaching and raising her daughter Kate, the fruit of her short affair with DCI Harry Nelson, is interrupted by the shocking news of her university friend Dan Golding's death. A posthumous letter from Dan asking her to examine the bones of an exciting discovery he has made and hinting at unnamed problems prompts Ruth (The House at Sea's End, 2012, etc.) to ask Nelson to inquire more closely into the case. It turns out that Dan's laptop and cellphone are missing, and the police are already treating his death as suspicious. When someone from Dan's university asks her to look at the bones, Ruth, Kate and her druid friend Cathbad all head to a rented cottage in the north of England, where Nelson is visiting his mom in Blackpool. Cathbad's local druid friend, Pendragon, greets them with a gun and a tale of fear, possibly of the White Hand, the right-wing group terrorizing the university campus. The bones, which Dan was sure were those of King Arthur, have mysteriously vanished. All that remain are some samples Dan had sent to a lab in the States. When these samples indicate that King Arthur was part black, Kate and the police both look to the mysterious White Hand for answers. Another gem packed with offbeat, well-developed characters and a quirky, challenging mystery.
From the Publisher
Praise for the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series

"Elly Griffiths draws us all the way back to prehistoric times…Highly atmospheric." —The New York Times Book Review

"Galloway is an everywoman, smart, successful and a little bit unsure of herself. Readers will look forward to learning more about her." —USA Today 

"Ruth Galloway is a remarkable, delightful character…A must-read for fans of crime and mystery fiction." —Associated Press

"Forensic archeologist and academic Ruth Galloway is a captivating amateur sleuth—an inspired creation. I identified with her insecurities and struggles, and cheered her on. " —Louise Penny, author of the bestselling Armand Gamache series

"These books are must-reads." —Deborah Crombie, author of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series

"[Ruth Galloway’s] an uncommon, down-to-earth heroine whose acute insight, wry humor, and depth of feeling make her a thoroughly engaging companion." —Erin Hart, Agatha and Anthony Award nominated author of Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows

"A wonderfully rich mixture of ancient and contemporary, superstition and rationality, with a cast of druids, dreamers and assorted tree-huggers as well as some thoroughly modern villains…A great series." —The Guardian

"[An] excellent series…Skillful and engaging." —The Globe and Mail

"Griffiths is one of England’s freshest mystery writers. Her novels combine a dramatic sense of place with a complicated mystery, and with each new installment, her character of Ruth Galloway becomes more complex and dynamic." —Curled Up with a Good Book

"Griffiths does a lot to humanize forensic archaeology and serves up great dollops of historical details in her Ruth Galloway series…Griffiths is great at conveying the archaeologist’s passion for finds, forensic or historic." —Booklist, starred review

"Griffiths is a true mystery writer." —Ann Arbor News

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Ruth Galloway Series, #5
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

ELLY GRIFFITHS is the author of the award-winning Ruth Galloway series. She lives near Brighton, on the English coast.

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Dying Fall 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 20 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
When, after learning that a university friend has burned to death, a letter arrives from him, written just days before he died, asking for her help, forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway could hardly refuse to leave her home and go up north to investigate what she believes her friend discovered: a momentous find. It appears the friend, Dan Golding, believed that he had uncovered the bones of the legendary King Arthur. The letter indicated Dan was scared but wanted Ruth to look at the bones and, hopefully, confirm his suspicions. So Ruth travels to Lancashire, along with her almost-two-year-old daughter and her druid friend, Cathbad. Unbeknownst to Ruth, Kate’s father, DCI Harry Nelson, has chosen the same time frame to vacation in his nearby hometown, thus setting up the situation for the pair to solve yet another mystery together. Golding’s death has already raised police suspicions, and no sooner than Ruth decides to go she begins to receive threatening messages warning her not to. When she arrives, she learns of neo-fascist activity at the college where Golding was a lecturer and a particularly dangerous group called the White Hand. Examining what purports to be Golding’s discovery, Ruth learns a shocking fact about “King Arthur,” but further analysis is not possible because the real bones have disappeared, setting up the further mystery of who would steal the bones and why. This is the fifth novel about a plump 42-year-old character, a single mother and an academic, who apparently has a penchant for using her skills to solve various types of mysteries with a detective inspector with whom she apparently is in love (but who is unavailable). Who would think that such elements have the making of an interesting and rewarding series? Perhaps the excellence of the writing, and the creative nature of the plots, have something to do with the novels’ well-deserved popularity. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good series that keeps getting better. Not only is there a good murder mystery but the author has a subtle sense of humor that should be savored. The characters are easy to relate to & very enjoyable to know.
nenris More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story as always. I read all her books. She knows how to tell a story.
Twink More than 1 year ago
I was hooked on this series by Elly Griffiths from the very first book. A Dying Fall is the fifth (and latest) entry in her Ruth Galloway Mystery series. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and settle in for a great read with characters I truly enjoy. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist at the University in North Norfolk, England. An expert in bones, she is often called in to assist police, museums and on other digs. Ruth receives a letter from Dan - an old friend from her university days. They haven't really kept in touch, but the letter piques her curiosity. Dan is also an archaeologist, attached to a university in Lancashire. His letter says he has discovered the bones of 'The Raven King.' Ruth tries to contact him, without result. Until that university calls asking if Ruth could come up and look at some bones for them - their archaeologist Dan Golding has been killed in a tragic accident. Or was it? Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, on vacation with his wife becomes involved as well. Why do I love this series so much? The characters. Griffiths has created a wonderful protagonist in Ruth. I just really like her. She's decidedly unique and different. She is a single mother at forty plus, overweight, messy, introverted, but highly intelligent and curious. 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 raising her daughter Kate. Kate's father is the married Harry Nelson. The evolution of his and Ruth's relationship has kept me quite enthralled from the beginning. With Harry's acknowledgment of Kate as his daughter, things have become even more entangled. The supporting cast of characters is just as intriguing. Cathbad, the self proclaimed Druid takes a leading role in A Dying Fall. I enjoy his enigmatic ways and his pagan beliefs. His personal storyline is just as complicated as Ruth's - involving a sergeant from Nelson's staff. I have to say, he rivals Ruth for my favourite character. Little Kate's personality is being drawn as well - it's enjoyable to see her growing and talking. And this wonderful cast of characters carries along a clever, inventive plot involving Arthurian legends, neo-Nazi's and more I had my suspicions as to the culprit, but Griffiths surprised me at the end this time. I always learn something in Griffiths' books - the historical facts and mythical legends woven into the narrative often send me searching the Internet to read more. Griffiths has done it again - hooked me with a great read that I finished too quickly and left me waiting for the next in this engaging series. Definitely recommended.
MarAnnabelle More than 1 year ago
Great book - this is my favorite in series so far.   I like the fact of more interaction between Ruth and Nelson as parents and Cathbad's presence in the book was great.   I won't go in to detail as to not spoil book for others, but if you enjoyed the rest of series, you will love this book and if you have not read any of Elly's books - give them a try, terrific writer Book took place out of the Norfolk area which was a nice change  I recommend this and entire series and hope the series continues on
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Divine. This is quickly becoming my favorite series. Ruth may be full figured but she still comes across as sexy and romantic. And she has met her match with the ever-cranky Nelson. LOVE this series!
MarnieG More than 1 year ago
very enjoyable reading and  can't wait for another
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great book in this excellent series. Elly Griffiths is one of my favorite new authors. Highly recommended.
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snowshoe27 More than 1 year ago
This book was a little difficult to follow. I finally got the characters sorted in my mind and enjoyed the book. This is a very English book and takes some concentration to get into the story.
RubyLT More than 1 year ago
Set in England and is a Bones like novel
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The desire for unpleasant subjects and grafic details of anything and everything unpleasant from people to body functions forensic is like the warning lablel on a product as a danger