A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway Series #5)

A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway Series #5)

4.3 20
by Elly Griffiths

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Forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway investigates her most heart-stopping case to date after an old university friend and fellow archeologist is murdered in an arson attack.See more details below


Forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway investigates her most heart-stopping case to date after an old university friend and fellow archeologist is murdered in an arson attack.

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

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Product Details

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

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