When there are only bones, you need an expert to stop the murderer…
Who is Ruth Galloway?
Written by British crime novelist Elly Griffiths, also author of the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series, this series is about a forensic archeologist investigating crimes (a bit like Temperance Brennan).
Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, when she is called by Detective Chief Inspector Nelson to help in an investigation. After that they regularly work together, digging bones and arresting murderers.
Ruth Galloway Books in Order:
- The Crossing Places – Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway’s routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson calls Galloway for help, believing they are the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing a decade ago and whose abductor continues to taunt him with bizarre letters containing references to ritual sacrifice, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Then a second girl goes missing.
- The Janus Stone – When construction workers demolishing a large old house in Norwich uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway—minus its skull—Ruth Galloway is once again called upon to investigate. Is it a Roman-era ritual sacrifice, or is the killer closer at hand?
- The House at Sea’s End – Just back from maternity leave, Ruth Galloway is finding it hard to juggle motherhood and work when she is called in to investigate human bones that have surfaced on a remote Norfolk beach. The presence of DCI Harry Nelson, the married father of her daughter, does not help. The bones, six men with their arms bound, turn out date back to World War II, a desperate time on this stretch of coastland.
- A Room Full of Bones – When Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop, she finds the museum’s curator lying dead on the floor. Soon after, the museum’s wealthy owner is also found dead, in his stables.
- Ruth’s First Christmas Tree (Short Story) – It is three days before Christmas and a bitter wind is blowing across Norfolk. Until her daughter was born, Ruth Galloway didn’t do Christmas, but now that Kate is a year old, she wants it to be special. She must get a tree, shop for food, clean the house, buy presents, including one for her new boyfriend—who she isn’t even sure is her boyfriend—and remember to get the turkey out of the freezer. But time is rushing by and the best-laid plans don’t always work out …
- A Dying Fall – When Ruth Galloway learns that her old university friend Dan Golding has died in a house fire, she is shocked and saddened. But when she receives a letter that Dan had written just before he died, her sadness turns to suspicion.
- The Outcast Dead – Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, which was once a prison. The body may be that of Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged for the murder of five children.
- The Ghost Fields – Norfolk is suffering from record summer heat when a construction crew unearths a macabre discovery—a downed World War II plane with the pilot still inside. Ruth Galloway quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea. When the remaining members of the Blackstock family learn about the discovery, they seem strangely frightened by the news.
- The Woman in Blue – When Ruth Galloway’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in Walsingham’s graveyard, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear that a horrible crime has been committed, and DCI Nelson and his team are called in for what is now a murder investigation.
- The Chalk Pit – Far below Norwich is a maze of old mining tunnels. When Ruth Galloway is called to examine a set of human remains in one of them, she notices the bones are almost translucent, a sign they were boiled soon after death. Once more, she’s at the helm of a murder investigation.
- The Dark Angel – Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!
- The Stone Circle – DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters. They are anonymous, yet reminiscent of ones he has received in the past, from the person who drew him into a case that’s haunted him for years. At the same time, Ruth Galloway receives a letter purporting to be from that very same person. But the author of those letters is dead. Or is he?
- The Lantern Men – Ruth Galloway has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Amyas March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.