The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway Series #6)

The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway Series #6)

4.1 11
by Elly Griffiths
     
 

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Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.

Every year a ceremony is held at Norwich Castle for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s

Overview


Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.

Every year a ceremony is held at Norwich Castle for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out—and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/20/2014
In Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Griffiths’s competent sixth mystery featuring archeologist Ruth Galloway (after 2013’s A Dying Fall), Mark Gates, a TV researcher for a British documentary series called Women Who Kill, takes an interest in Ruth after she uncovers the bones of the notorious Mother Hook, a Victorian-era child minder accused of killing at least 20 children in Norwich. Despite the damning folktales, Ruth suspects that Mother Hook was innocent—a belief that clashes with Mark’s vision of a monstrous child murderer. As Ruth seeks clues lost long ago, her former lover, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, is closing in on a 37-year-old woman who may have killed her three infants. Meanwhile, the self-described “Childminder” begins kidnapping young children from their homes. Griffiths astutely plays on modern anxieties about working parents and childcare. A clever ending compensates for the frequent narrative-slowing switches between Harry’s and Ruth’s cases. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"What connection could the discovery of a notorious child killer’s corpse have to a new series of unnerving crimes? Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway thinks that the body she’s unearthed near the walls of Norwich Castle may be that of Mother Hook, a woman who took in unwanted children, possibly sold their bodies and was hanged for murder in 1867. Ruth’s publicity-seeking department head is thrilled when the producer of the TV series Women Who Kill decides to add Mother Hook to the lineup. Ruth herself is less pleased even though the job brings her together with Frank Barker, an attractive professor of American history who thinks Mother Hook was innocent. At the same time, DCI Harry Nelson, the father of Ruth’s daughter, Kate, is investigating the deaths of a couple’s three young children. The first two incidents were written off as crib deaths, but the third looks like murder, and Nelson suspects the parents. As Ruth continues her work on the program, Nelson gets another child-related case. A young girl has been stolen from the house of her wealthy parents, whose nanny spends more time with the children than they do. After a frantic search, the child is found along with a cryptic note from “The Childminder.” No sooner is that case resolved than the son of Ruth’s friend Judy, a member of Nelson’s team, is taken from his sitter, and another note from the Childminder turns up. Judy is married to her high school sweetheart, but her son is the product of her affair with Cathbad, a druid friend of Ruth’s who had helped her in past cases (A Dying Fall, 2013, etc.). Could all these cases be related? Griffiths lovingly develops the complicated, often testy relationships between the continuing characters in the course of a mystery perhaps a shade less exciting than her usual fare."--Kirkus Reviews

"Griffiths bases her title and the book’s opening scene on an actual ceremony for “the outcast dead” (paupers and prostitutes long ago flung into a mass grave), held every year at Cross Bones Graveyard in London. The ceremony, which Griffiths transports to Norwich, fits beautifully with the fictional recent find at Norwich Castle of a grave likely containing the bones of Mother Hook, a woman hanged outside the castle for murdering children entrusted to her care. Heroine Ruth Galloway, the Norwich University lecturer and forensic archaeologist seen in five previous mysteries, does a star turn for a TV series in considering the guilt or innocence of the Victorian Mother Hook. At the same time, Galloway’s sometime lover and father of her three-year-old daughter, DCI Nelson, investigates the wrenching case of a mother accused of smothering her baby. Griffiths deftly blends the themes of two women accused of child killing. Then she turns up the heat under this seething cauldron of blame and guilt by having two Norwichchildren kidnapped. A deft blend of death in the past, death in the present, and death chillingly close to occurring."--Booklist

"In Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Griffiths’s competent sixth mystery featuring archeologist Ruth Galloway (after 2013’s A Dying Fall), Mark Gates, a TV researcher for a British documentary series called Women Who Kill, takes an interest in Ruth after she uncovers the bones of the notorious Mother Hook, a Victorian-era child minder accused of killing at least 20 children in Norwich. Despite the damning folktales, Ruth suspects that Mother Hook was innocent—a belief that clashes with Mark’s vision of a monstrous child murderer. As Ruth seeks clues lost long ago, her former lover, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, is closing in on a 37-year-old woman who may have killed her three infants. Meanwhile, the self-described “Childminder” begins kidnapping young children from their homes. Griffiths astutely plays on modern anxieties about working parents and childcare. A clever ending compensates for the frequent narrative-slowing switches between Harry’s and Ruth’s cases."--Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-09
What connection could the discovery of a notorious child killer's corpse have to a new series of unnerving crimes? Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway thinks that the body she's unearthed near the walls of Norwich Castle may be that of Mother Hook, a woman who took in unwanted children, possibly sold their bodies and was hanged for murder in 1867. Ruth's publicity-seeking department head is thrilled when the producer of the TV series Women Who Kill decides to add Mother Hook to the lineup. Ruth herself is less pleased even though the job brings her together with Frank Barker, an attractive professor of American history who thinks Mother Hook was innocent. At the same time, DCI Harry Nelson, the father of Ruth's daughter, Kate, is investigating the deaths of a couple's three young children. The first two incidents were written off as crib deaths, but the third looks like murder, and Nelson suspects the parents. As Ruth continues her work on the program, Nelson gets another child-related case. A young girl has been stolen from the house of her wealthy parents, whose nanny spends more time with the children than they do. After a frantic search, the child is found along with a cryptic note from "The Childminder." No sooner is that case resolved than the son of Ruth's friend Judy, a member of Nelson's team, is taken from his sitter, and another note from the Childminder turns up. Judy is married to her high school sweetheart, but her son is the product of her affair with Cathbad, a druid friend of Ruth's who had helped her in past cases (A Dying Fall, 2013, etc.). Could all these cases be related? Griffiths lovingly develops the complicated, often testy relationships between the continuing characters in the course of a mystery perhaps a shade less exciting than her usual fare.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547792774
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Series:
Ruth Galloway Series, #6
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway novels — The Crossing Places, The Janus Stone, The House at Sea's End, A Room Full of Bones, A Dying Fall, and The Outcast Dead — have been praised as "gripping" (Louise Penny), "highly atmospheric," (New York Times Book Review), and "must-reads for fans of crime fiction" (Associated Press). She is the winner of the 2010 Mary Higgins Clark Award.

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The Outcast Dead 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great continuation of the Ruth series. I am ready for the next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way too much disgusting Cathbad and all his disgusting byblows. This series would be excellent if not for that pathetic caricature always intruding. And why must all British writers make their charactersbe such flaming socialists? It really is repuksive and boring. In the real world, Nelson would take no calls from Cathbad and would arrest idiot Maddie, not freaking take her home with him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was hooked "no pun intended" on the series after reading the first one! Characters you really get attached to and extremely interesting information on the area as well as the history of different times. I pace myself reading these so there will always be one waiting. Or at least soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another lovely addition to the series. To the reviewer who noted Nelson is Catholic but he committed adultery, it should be noted by his own admission he is a lapsed Catholic. That usually means they no longer follow the tenets of the Church. I think adultery is very common in the real world so I do not see the need to fuse about it appearing in a work of fiction. I do love this series and am waiting patiently for the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MarnieG More than 1 year ago
I really do enjoy Elly's works...they are great mysteries and  a touch of different to them....I always watch for new ones.
Jan-Housebookreader More than 1 year ago
As with her previous 5 mysteries about forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway, Elly Griffiths brings fascinating but realistic characters to life. The character development throughout this series is outstanding. It leaves you waiting with baited breath for the next book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
arbjamesAJ More than 1 year ago
A historical child murder case dovetails nicely with a modern child kidnapping. In neither case is guilt or innocence so easy to determine. Ruth, an archaeologist, finds herself caught up in both cases. I haven't read the other books in this series, but for the most part, it wasn't necessary, although there are a lot of references to previous cases. I was a bit confused, however, trying to keep up with everyone's parentage. Everyone seems to have children by everyone else, with the men fathering two different generations of children. Apparently no one in this series has heard of birth control, or, for that matter, monogamy. (While Nelson is Catholic and might have misgivings about birth control, I'm pretty sure that Catholics don't condone adultery.)