I can’t remember where I first saw good reviews for the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths, but I’m now a fan. What draws me in the most in a story are well-rounded characters. I’m not really a sucker for atmosphere and setting, which this book has plenty of, unless I actually care about the characters involved. Ruth Galloway is an academic archaelogist. whose single, overweight, a loner, smart and funny, which are the immediate draws. DC Nelson calls in Ruth as an expert to investigate bones that may be linked to the ten year old disappearance of a young girl in the area. Ruth feels a connection between the ancient bones she finds and the disappearances of two girls in the area, and her empathy is the driving force of the story.
The desolate Saltmarsh where Ruth lives figures prominently in the story. Griffiths goes into the history, the archaelogy, and the tide that figure prominently in the area (Ruth and her colleagues discovered a henge ten years before the action of this story takes place). Also, this book makes me realize that I know just a tiny bit about Norse mythology.
Ruth and Nelson are the most interesting characters in this story, but I did enjoy reading about the archaelogical obsessions of a good segment of the other characters. I imagine Nelson’s story will be fleshed out more further in the series. I couldn’t help wondering why I run across so many druids in British books and tv series than in American ones, and I think they just call themselves pagans here.
I thought the first half of the book was stronger than the second, and I think I say that because I figured out who the criminal was pretty early on. That being said, I expect the plotting in subsequent books to catch up with the characterizations.