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34 of 35 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

versus
24 of 28 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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34 of 35 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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22 of 23 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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22 of 24 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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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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24 of 28 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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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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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Books, 7 April 2013
By 
J. Wassell (UK) - See all my reviews
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I purchased the set of 5 of these books in this series after attending a book reading by various authors. The only one that stood out for me was Elly Griffiths. I had never read any of her books previously, or even heard of her, but her reading of a section of a chapter made me want to read more. The reading was a couple of weeks ago, and I am on book 4, I have to wait until July to receive book 5 when it is published - cannot come quick enough for me. Needless to say, I find them a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ruth and Nelson saga, 17 Feb 2013
By 
L Burnett (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation (Kindle Edition)
A fairly good read, but not all that well written. I've read the two preceeding novels and am getting rather tired of Ruth's entanglement with Nelson. There is so much good plot material without bringing in this needless drama. Because of it I don't think I can be bothered with the next two. I'm not really into 'aga sagas' and this series is beginning to go down this avenue. Why cant a professional female geologist have an interesting friendly relationship with the chief inspector without it involving sex?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lightweight but diverting, 21 Jan 2012
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is the third in Elly Griffith's series about Ruth Galloway, a forensic archeologist, and you will probably enjoy it significantly more if you have read at least the first book in the series (The Crossing Places: A Case for Ruth Galloway) already. This time around, Ruth is called in when 6 skeletons are found wedged into the crevice of a cliff face. Forensic analysis reveals that they date back to World War 2 and they are probably German in origin. However what seems to be a dated, albeit interesting, crime becomes more relevant when it appears that someone is still prepared to kill in order to keep secret how the bodies came to be there.

Elly Griffith's books are easy reading, "cosy" mysteries. As crime novels they don't stand up to much scrutiny. The murderer's identity is almost impossible to work out due to the absence of clues and even credible motivation. In fact, after reading three of her books I can only marvel at the number of murderers running loose in Norfolk who are prepared to kill for the slightest of reasons. Despite this, they are still enjoyable to read, mainly because the characters are now so familiar. In this installment, Ruth's daughter Kate is a few months old and I also enjoyed the way that Griffiths incorporates the tricky juggling act that parenting plus working entails. A little twist at the end also has me wondering how the complicated relationship between Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson will develop in the next book.

Overall an enjoyable enough diversion, but pretty lightweight.
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