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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2012
I have read all the previous Ruth Galloway books, which are brilliant. Elly Griffiths then produced A Room Full of Bones, and this is even better! The same characters are still present,the story line is very gripping and parts of the story are darker than her previous books. Elly Griffiths is very good at making links between all four books and whilst this is different from her other three, the 'essense' is still the same. Don't be put off by some of the negative reviews, have a read, you will be suprised by the story line. This is not just a story book but a book that informs as well.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2011
This came as a nice 'after Christmas' pressie due to its earlier than expected delivery (thanks Amazon - and Quericus!). If you've read the first three Ruth Galloway books (The Crossing Places: A Case for Ruth Galloway,The Janus Stone: A Case for Investigator Ruth Galloway, Forensic Archaeologist and The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation), you won't need any prompting from me to get this one. If you haven't, then Ruth is a forensic archaeologist who specialises in bones. She works at the University of North Norfolk, and gets involved (very involved...) with Harry Nelson, of the Norfolk Police, and a wide range of other interesting, well-rounded, and very well written characters. When Room Full of Bones begins, there's been fall out from the events at the very end of Sea's End (which I won't reveal!), and it's nearly time for Kate's (Ruth's daughter) first birthday. A new neighbour, and a stunning archaeological discovery, lead Ruth and her friends into another paranormal-tinged police procedural, with a bigger part than usual for Cathbad (druid, and occasional science technician), and a move away from the Saltmarsh to other areas of Norfolk, and the horse racing world. It's easy to read, cleverly plotted, and full of quality touches. All the characters, even the cat and dog, are realistic and believable, and it's definitely recommended! It's important, though, to read the books in publication order - while the plots themselves don't follow on, you'll miss the character development if you read them randomly. If you're a fan of Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series, the TV series Bones (although Ruth and Harry are a long way from Temperance and Booth!), and Kathy Reich's books, you'll love this.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2012
Unbelievable, disappointing - never thought I would write this about a Ruth Galloway/Harry Nelson story especially after the brilliant trio that preceded it. The success of those stories involved the lively interaction both professional - and otherwise - of those two principal characters. Once they are sidelined, the story loses its grip. Nelson is halucinating on his deathbed, Ruth is more involved with her daughter and with Max, leaving others to carry the plot forward. And they end up getting mired down - literally - at the Racing Stables, stoned in an attempt to resusicate Nelson etc., etc. Too many threads, too many distractions, too much implausibility. And is Nelson really such a pussy-cat to make those promises to the perfect Michelle?
Please Elly Griffiths, go back to the original framework of the earlier books - more archaeological investigation for Ruth, more criminal investigation for Nelson, both working together - with difficulty of course - to a believable conclusion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2012
I have absolutely loved the previous three novels in this series. The mix of archeology and forensics, together with the will they/won't they love affair between Ruth and Harry, the regular characters - such as Cathbad and of course, little Kate is a brilliant, fresh read.

Sadly, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed in this book. It rather resembled a Jilly Cooper novel to me (although less raunchy) - all the race horses and jockeys etc, with no archeology and very little detective work for Harry. In saying that, the book was fine as a one off read, especially for those new to the author, but I do hope that Elly will go back to her usual format and bring back the archeology because that is what we enjoy her work for.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2012
As with all the other Elly Griffiths books this is unputdownable! The plot is fascinating and keeps you guessing throughout and I particularly like the way Elly is developing the relationship, or non-relationship, between Ruth and Nelson. She understands her characters so well that as each new situation arises their reactions are totally believable.
Each book can stand on its own merits but it is particularly satisfying following the development of the characters through each title.
As ever the setting in Norfolk is so evocative that it almost becomes a character in its own right and the details about racing stables and how they operate as well as all the information about medieval bishops and Mother Julian of Norwich is woven together in a masterly fashion. Elly manages to take us through a lot of information and a rich cast of characters without ever becoming confusing, which can be a problem in thrillers. However I feel these books are much more than thrillers and I would be interested in the unfolding story of each character even without the mystery!
Thank you Elly, and more please!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This might be a little too far-fetched for most tastes. A fictitious place called The Dreaming where one enters the spiritual world of the Indigenous people in Australia forms quite a heavy back-drop to this story. Very enjoyable but rather complex with Animal Rights, The Dreaming, stables and derring-do, it was at times difficult to focus on this as a CF novel. Then there was Nelson's and Ruth's relationship, Kate starting to grow, her first word Dada and so on. I'm happy to award 4**** but I'm not sure I'll continue with this series. Quite entertaining but I found myself wishing it would draw to a close. Ruth and Nelson are certainly well-developed characters now but I'm unsure where this series is going. It has certainly made a change from the usual police procedural. Nelson reminds me so much of a latter-day Morse or Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks. I guess all of these fit a mould.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Archaeologist Ruth Galloway turns up at the Smith Museum in Kings Lynn to supervise the opening of a Medieval coffin containing a dead bishop. She finds the museum creator dead beside the coffin. Harry Nelson, detective and father of Ruth's one year old daughter, Kate, turns up to investigate the murder. The owner of the museum is receiving threatening letters telling him he must return human bones to Australia where they belong. The dead curator had also received similar letters.

Ruth meanwhile is juggling her feelings for Nelson, who has agreed with his wife not to see Ruth or his daughter. She is also juggling child care requirements with her full time job. She has a new neighbour at her isolated cottage on the salt marsh who is in Norfolk to lecture at a university and who comes from Australia. Ruth suspects he may be involved with the pressure group which is seeking to repatriate the skulls currently held in the Smith Museum.

I found this book gripping reading with an interesting sub plot in which the police are trying to find out the source of large quantities of illicit drugs making their way into the county. I like Ruth as a character - she is far from perfect and not typical heroine material but there is something appealing about her lack of self confidence in many areas apart from her job. Nelson is a deeper and more complex character than at first appears and his growing friendship with the druid, Cathbad, is sensitively handled.

If you want something different in the psychological thriller genre then this series is worth trying. It started with The Crossing Places: Ruth Galloway Investigation 1: A Case for Ruth Galloway
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2014
I absolutely love the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths, but I’m slightly disappointed by this fourth offering.

The House at Sea’s End, the third novel in the series, ended with a personal life cliffhanger for the Ruth/Nelson dynamic and that played out well during this book and promises to be interesting to follow for fans of the series.

What I found disappointing was the lack of Ruth being involved as a forensic archaeologist. With a series based on the protagonist’s job being just this, and readers I presume being interested in that side of the story, I found the only reason I continued reading the book was my investment in the main characters.

The blurb states “but will Ruth be able to muster herself out of a state of guilt and foreboding in order to do what she does best?” but she doesn’t do anything. During any of the entire book. She seems to be more of a bystander to events.

As for the plot itself, it’s confusing. There’s a snake theme. A very confusing theme. I’m more confused about it now I know the ending.

I will be reading the next in the series. I am hoping this is just a bump in the road. Elly Griffiths has just been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library, so I am very hopeful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
I've just read Room full of bones by Elly Griffiths. I was regrettably underwhelmed. I was expecting a sort of Kathy Reichs Bones scenario transported to Norfolk, or wherever, but instead there is stuff about Druids, Indigenous Australian bone repatriation, Australian mumbo-jumbo voodoo - pointing the bone?? Voodoo curses and Aspergillosis. There is also a very minor plot about drug smuggling using horses as mules, (great pun) and a dysfunctional family.
The author should have done a bit of research on fungal diseases. Aspergillosis does not kill instantly. The spores have to develop. The organism has to grow. It takes a while for symptoms to develop, they are diagnosable and treatable. For the Druid to claim that the cop has been cursed is just ridiculous. I did not take to the Druid character at all. I'm a scientist and even at age 77 I still know quite a bit about the subject and I really dislike the idea of some species of transcendental wisdom beyond the ken of "normal" people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 February 2012
Much awaited return of of Ruth Galloway, the fourth in an excellent series set in Norfolk. Familiar characters return and perhaps are to over written to bring the reader up to speed. As a result I feel the first part of the book drags and is in danger of becoming becalmed.
However it remains faithful to its characters and advances their stories along seamlessly perhaps with a nod to a television series.
there is a good mystery / thriller in here somewhere and it is beautifully crafted into the conclusion of the book.
A stand alone book it isn't however and I doubt if read first would have you scurrying to the library to read the earlier accounts.
I though am hooked through all four books and want to learn more about the characters especially Nelson the detective and Cathbad the true soul of the writing.
I look forward to reading more in this series but hope the stories will speak for themselves as independent pieces.
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