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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dem bones
Elly Griffiths books are like my guilty pleasure without the guilt; I devour them and am always left wanting more.

The House at Sea's End is the third book in the Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is a Forensic Archaeologist who lives on the Norfolk coast and examines bones for a living, sometimes having to help the police in their serious crimes unit to establish...
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by Boof

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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does anyone really think this is better than mediocre?
At best, I am a sporadic contributor to review forums, and when I do contribute it is almost always because I especially enjoyed the book in question. In this case, however, I'm provoked to put finger to keyboard simply because I disagree so comprehensively with those who have lavished praise upon a book which I consider to be one of the poorest crime novels I have read...
Published on 23 Mar 2011 by Stanwegian


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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dem bones, 1 Aug 2011
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Elly Griffiths books are like my guilty pleasure without the guilt; I devour them and am always left wanting more.

The House at Sea's End is the third book in the Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is a Forensic Archaeologist who lives on the Norfolk coast and examines bones for a living, sometimes having to help the police in their serious crimes unit to establish what may have happened to bones that can't be immediately identified by the police. Ruth Galloway is one of my favourite crime heroines: she lives in a tiny cottage on a remote part of Norfolk by the salt marshes, she is slightly overweight, she has a cat, she reads lots of books and enjoys her own company - I heart Ruth! In this book, however, she has something other than serious crimes to concentrate on and that is motherhood. After a one-night stand with Detective Harry Nelson in the first book, Ruth has now given birth to Kate, whom turns out to be a whole mystery of her own. Of course, Nelson is back in this latest book too and I must admit to having a little crush on him.

The House at Sea's End brings us the mystery of six skeletons that are found by a team of Archaeologists in the cliff's on the Norfolk coast. Nelson and Ruth are amazed to discover that the bones are from Germany and could very well belong to German soldiers from WW2 - but how and why did they get there and who is trying to put them off the trail?

What I love about this series is that not only are these books great reading with a simplicity that makes me think of them as comfort reading (as opposed to hard-boiled crime fic) but the characters and so well drawn and developed throughout the books that I could read them for this alone; I just love following Ruth and Nelson's story and meeting back up with characters such as Cathbad; it's like meeting up with old friends. What I also love is the bleakness of the setting (and who can resist the covers for the books in this series?)
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars progress, 24 Jan 2011
By 
Lordy (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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i was very impressed with this book. it is the best one in the series so far, and certainly the best written. with her previous two books i very much enjoyed the developing relationship between ruth and nelson, but i'm afaid the identity of the killers was a little too easy to spot. not so here. i really didn't have a clue or rather i was seduced by a red herring or two and found myself way off. however, the chief pleasures are to be found in the description of our heroine, her complicated relationship with nelson and a cast of very likeable supporting characters. the author really excels in this aspect of her writing and i can't wait for the next installment to see where we all end up, particularly after the implication of the book's closing paragraph.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent book!, 18 Jan 2011
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Elly Griffiths hasn't disappointed us with her third book about Ruth, the forensic archaeologist. It rings so true about Ruth's struggle to combine motherhood with a career - a career that can plunge her into dangerous situations. Who would have thought bones could be so tricky? I couldn't put this book down, and was so sad when I had finished it, I started it again!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The third in the Ruth Galloway mysteries, 5 May 2012
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This review is from: The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation (Paperback)
I don't quite know what to say about this book as I had such high expectations for it. I enjoyed the story, as the relationship between Ruth and Nelson is becoming more involved and I think they are a really entertaining pair. However, for me most of the fascination with these stories is the forensic archaeology content and it's relation to police investigations plus the absorbing myths and legends. Here there wasn't so much. It was more of a murder mystery with connections to WW11 and while that was really good, I missed these elements. Usually it is book two which can fall flat which is not the case here; the Janus Stone was excellent. I hope this was just a deviation for Elly Griffiths and she will return to the more mystical elements which I found so absorbing in her first two books. I'm starting book four now, A Room Full of Bones so I'll post an update when I've finished. I hate writing reviews like this and I did love the book but in this case, this one was not quite as absorbing as the previous two...sorry Elly!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Does anyone really think this is better than mediocre?, 23 Mar 2011
By 
Stanwegian (Tyneside, England) - See all my reviews
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At best, I am a sporadic contributor to review forums, and when I do contribute it is almost always because I especially enjoyed the book in question. In this case, however, I'm provoked to put finger to keyboard simply because I disagree so comprehensively with those who have lavished praise upon a book which I consider to be one of the poorest crime novels I have read for some time.

I found the author's use of the present tense was at best an irritating distraction; at times, the writing feels more like a screenplay than a novel. I'm not against innovative writing, but in this case I simply didn't see the point of this stylised approach.

The characters did not seem to me to be at all well-drawn - they were far too stereotypical, lacking in depth and - at least through the eyes of this reviewer - too self-orientated to create any sense of empathy in the mind of the reader.

It's difficult to say anything substantive about the plot giving too much away - there isn't much there to start with. The basic concept of bodies rising from their graves to reveal wartime shenanigans is not new - there's a recent example in Ann Cleeves' 'Red Bones' - but the casting of the Home Guard as villains of the historic piece was, so far as I am aware, original. Unfortunately, it was also incredible. The identity of the modern murderer is difficult to guess simply because few, if any, legitimate clues are provided. There is a highly-contrived set-piece climax which is absolutely incomprehensible because even if it hadn't dramatically misfired it would have done little or nothing to protect the identity or advance the objectives of the killer.

Crime fiction always requires some degree of suspension of our innate credulity - after all, most of us go through our lives without tripping over murdered corpses - so, for example, we can readily cope with the fact that the murder rate in Peter Robinson's corner of rural North Yorkshire is much higher than in real-life inner cities. A satisfying crime novel doesn't push this suspension too far; it leaves us with at least a vague sense that the story just could have happened that way, even though we know perfectly well that it was pure fiction. The House at Sea's End went way beyond my credulity threshold.

In short, though I have been a lifetime fan of good crime fiction, I was entirely unimpressed by both the style and the content of this novel. My advice is to keep looking - there are plenty of much better reads out there.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The evil will lie waiting beneath the earth.", 8 Nov 2011
By 
E. Bukowsky "booklover10" (NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation (Paperback)
In "The House at Sea's End," by Elly Griffiths, forty-year-old forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway is now a single mum. Although she adores her daughter, Kate, Ruth is tired ("sleepless nights, zombie-like days"), nervous, and feeling guilty about leaving her baby with child minders while she is at work. Along with her teaching duties at the University of North Norfolk, she occasionally helps the police with their inquiries. When someone uncovers human skeletons in a ravine, Ruth is called in to examine the remains.

Griffiths has a natural, effortless, understated, and gently humorous writing style. As always, Galloway is an endearing "Everywoman"--overweight, somewhat disorganized, and self-deprecating. Ruth cares for Kate's father, but he is off-limits, so she has decided to raise their daughter on her own. Since Ruth and Kate's dad are thrown together on a regular basis, it is likely that the truth about the baby's parentage will emerge sooner or later. This could prove awkward for all concerned.

The mystery centers on an incident that occurred during World War II, at a time when members of the "Broughton Sea's End Home Guard" were determined to protect England's mainland from Nazi invaders. Some of these elderly veterans are still alive, but an unidentified perpetrator starts killing them off; Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson wonder if someone is silencing them to keep a long-hidden secret from coming to light. On a less somber note, DS Judy Johnson is about to be married, but has she chosen the right mate? Love is in the air, but in some cases, Cupid's arrow may land a bit wide of the mark.

Griffiths juggles her lively and varied cast of characters with ease. On hand are Shona, Ruth's sassy buddy; Cathbad, a druid with a good heart and a canny mind; and Tatjana, an old friend who has come to visit Ruth. In 1996, Ruth and Tatjana had worked together in Bosnia, uncovering and identifying the remains of massacred victims of that region's tragic civil war. One of the author's themes is that, in wartime, formerly law-abiding people can turn into brutal and aggressive predators.

The author treats us to evocative descriptions of the wild and desolate coast where Ruth lives. Griffiths helps us visualize the sandstone cliffs, coves, and marshes; hear the shrill cries of the birds wheeling overhead, "their wings turned to pink by the setting sun"; and feel the pounding of the surf as it hammers against the rocks. Although the whodunit's solution is a bit rushed and somewhat contrived, this flaw does not markedly detract from the novel's appeal. Ruth Galloway fans will be pleased to see their heroine back from maternity leave, as smart, independent, courageous, and impulsive as ever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing an Excellent Series, 1 Aug 2014
This review is from: The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation (Paperback)
This is the third book in the Dr Ruth Galloway series. Ruth is a forensic archeologist who gets called in to look at some bones which have been discovered buried on a beach in Norfolk. They turn out to be around 60 years old so the police are called in.
The thing that is most refreshing about this book is the difficulty which Ruth has in finding child care for her daughter, Kate. Don't you get sick of these books which gloss over every day problems such as finding childcare or a suitable parking place in the centre of London? I must confess that I find it slightly irritating so this was rather refreshing.
The characters from previous books are back - Nelson & Michelle, Cathbad the druid and Shona. We also meet an old friend of Ruth's from Bosnia and have some insight into a short period of time when Ruth worked on the genocide graves in Bosnia. This added something extra to the story and enabled a new person to speak some home truths to Ruth.
The plot is well constructed and interesting. It had me popping on the internet to look up some historical detail which I take as a good sign. I like Ruth as she is not your archtypal heroine - overweight, middle aged and a single Mum!
This series of books is most enjoyable. I do suggest that readers begin with the first book "The Crossing Places" in order to get to know the characters as they develop.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars just about readable, 30 Mar 2011
I'm a bit surprised that most of the reviews of this book are so enthusiastic. It's an undemanding read although I agree with other comments that the basic premise of the plot is jarringly incredible. I would have enjoyed this book more if it had not been written in the present tense, which I find comes between the reader and the telling of the story. I understand the use of the present tense to create a feeling of urgency and tension ... but for a whole book ... why? It imparts an unpleasant, jerky feel to the narrative. Please, Elly Griffiths, abandon this gimmick in your future books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing plot, very attractive characters., 22 Aug 2014
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I had resisted reading any of the books in Elly Griffiths 'Ruth Galloway' series because when I riffled through the pages of one in a bookshop, I discovered that she writes in the present historic. I find this style very difficult and for that reason, I usually avoid reading novels, histories and biographies whose authors have affected it. I bought this first in the series for Kindle without remembering putting it back on the shelf. I'm glad I did, and I'm very glad I persevered with the annoying use of tenses. Griffiths has to some extent restricted the scope of possible crimes by making Ruth an academic archaeologist (old remains only) but this constraint gives her more space to develop a group of really well-rounded and mainly very attractive characters. Having said that, the investigations themselves have enough meat in them (not really, mainly bones) to stand up to scrutiny and the developing lives of the characters demand continued reading. The location of the story, North Norfolk, is integral to the plot and convincingly and lovingly drawn. Nice cat, as well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The ending will leave you gasping to read the next one as soon as you can!, 26 Aug 2014
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Another great book in the Ruth Galloway series. This one sees Ruth juggle the demands of her job at the university as an archaeologist and seconded to the serious crimes unit with that of being a single mother. Griffiths explores this wonderfully as Ruth pitches between her desires to be a part of an exciting discovery and then investigation and her guilt at her perceived failures as a mother. This is an area that many working mothers will be able to identify with deeply.

The setting along the harsh cold coastline is as always an enormous character of its own. It feels forbidding and dangerous without the considerations of a murderer at large. And the investigated murder crosses time periods with history and family secrets playing out in a wonderful story that has you entrenched firmly in there, wondering at a time gone by, and how things may have played out.

The ending will leave you gasping to read the next one as soon as you can. A perfect way to end a book in a series!
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The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation
The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation by Elly Griffiths (Paperback - 7 July 2011)
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