Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
278
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£13.68+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 2 March 2014
This is the last in the series at present; a series I have enjoyed very much. The first book was just great and this, the last one, is just fantastic.

Ruth finds some bones which appear to be of the notorious child killer Mother Hook (aka Jemima Green) who was hanged for her crimes some 150 years previously.

Nelson, simultaneously, is working on a case of a mother, Liz Donaldson, whose two children, Samuel and Isaac, had died suddenly in infancy and now the new baby, David, has suddenly died at 8 months old. Nelson is certain it is the mother who has committed these murders but there seems to be a lot of evidence to the contrary.

Ruth meanwhile meets a dashing 'George Clooney lookalike' American historian, Frank Barker, who is involved in a factual tv series, Women Who Kill. The producers want to include Ruth in this particular documentary to discuss the finding of the bones of Mother Hook.

Amidst all this, a baby goes missing whilst she is asleep in her bed and a mysterious note is found. Soon afterwards another child is kidnapped and it becomes a race against time to discover who is doing this and, more importantly, to get the baby back and reunited with the mother.

The pace never lets up and I couldn't put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed it and never guessed the perpetrator at all.

I loved this book very much and am going to miss Ruth and Nelson et al until the next book.

Brilliant and highly recommended.
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 February 2014
Having loved this series from the beginning I do look forward to Elly Griffiths new book which she releases each year. The mystery plot this time seemed only to be in the background; another abduction of a child putting Norfolk as a dangerous place to live, secondary to Midsommer! There was little if none archeological content this time and an almost vague murder plot floating around in the distance but for me, seeing the return of a favorite, Cathbad and his purple cloak, he saved the day! Ruth is as ever; cynical, insecure and a bit lost at times. Nelson still has his issues with her and his "love child" and the whole of the North Norfolk constabulary is thrown into turmoil when one of their own becomes personally involved in the unfolding tragedy. I enjoyed reading this as I love to revisit Ruth and her gang and the way Elly bounces her off against Nelson is often hillarious and moving at the same time. I missed the history which often has the reader gripped and also the lack of forensic archeology but saying that, to revisit the "family" once a year is rather nice and I am sure next year Ruth will be up to her neck in another mystery from the past and hopefully back digging to save someone's life in the present. A good light read with some memorable characters and a smile along the way.
0Comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 January 2014
This is another colourful outing for Ruth Galloway filled with Griffiths’ trademark wit and quirky characters. To be fair, we don’t read these books for their plots which tend to be a bit repetitive, contrived and implausible (how many more child abductions can there be in one part of Norfolk?) but for the ongoing interactions of the cast of characters who fill this series.

From the new-age druid Cathebad with his purple cloak, to the love lives of DI Harry Nelson and his crew of police officers, to Ruth’s own life and wrestles with the awful Phil, head of department, the personalities of the characters shine through. In this book, Ruth makes it onto TV and has a potential new love interest; stoic police officer Judy reveals a whole other side; and Clough finds himself a little off his food...

So there are far too many infant deaths and abductions to be credible in one book, and the lines being drawn between past and present are very tentative – but this is more than made up for by Ruth’s fabulously cynical, wry and sceptical view of the world: (“her sympathy for people who buy million-pound mansions and then have trouble with dry rot in the orangery is limited”).

So the crime story element is not completely satisfying, but this is a great read for fans of this series who are following the tangled lives of the characters – and Ruth is a gem of a character!

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
0Comment| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 February 2014
I love the Ruth Galloway series: archaeology, a whodunit with a bit of spiritual mystery. For me, a perfect combination.

I like the interesting personality quirks she gives her characters, their biases and prejudices make them seem very real. The complicated natures of the relationships between the major characters is a lovely bit of additional seasoning that maintains the on going story between the books. For me, they have all been of equally high calibre.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 February 2014
I was gripped by this book all the way through because of its excellent plotting, the atmospheric description of the landscape, and the character development. The author has taken the best of the preceding books featuring Harry Nelson and Ruth Galloway and produced a very satisfying read. You don't have to have read the earlier books to understand this one but if you have then you will really appreciate the developments of characters and relationships which take place in this novel.

The book links Nelson's investigation into a dead child with Ruth's discovery of the body of a notorious child killer from the past. The two enquiries are not linked but they shadow each other throughout the book as the author uses the parallel plots to examine issues around children, adultery, childcare and working mothers. The book is by no means preachy but the author raises lots of interesting questions with much of what she looks at being reflected in our daily newspapers. There are also side plots involving Ruth and Nelson and their colleagues and friends including the introduction of a possible love interest for Ruth (I am very much looking forward to seeing what the author does with that in future installments).

Once again the book skirts around the spirit world but the author makes no firm commitment to this and many of the characters remain unconvinced. This adds a little originality to the book and doesn't get in the way of the plot. The resolution to all the sub-plots works well in the context of the book and reflects the characters as we have come to know them. Although the atmospheric landscape writing is excellent as usual it doesn't play as large a part in the novel as it has in previous books.

The beauty of this novel is its readability. I was gripped from the first and cross when I had to leave the story to do something else. This is compelling reading - crime writing at its best. I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a review.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 June 2014
I haven't been very kind to Elly Griffiths in the past, but I keep coming back to these books so she must be getting something right.
I loved the premise of the series - forensic archaeologist and single mother Ruth Galloway solving mysteries while sorting out her tangled love life - and, like all the others, this is an easy read. There's a cast of credible characters, the settings are interesting and evocative (with the supernatural elements just stopping this side of cheesy), and there's enough information about Ruth's work and social life to make her seem current and real.
If it's a successful formula, does it matter that every book is more or less the same? This is perhaps the least exciting of the plots, which always end with a race against time. Here it's more mild peril than thriller, and the parallels between the modern and historical mysteries are particularly clunky.
The present-tense narrative continues to grate, as does Ruth's constant Bridget Jones-type angst about her appearance (but by the end she's hooked yet another potential beau, this time a George Clooney lookalike academic, and if that's meant to be her on the cover then she's got nothing to worry about).
This series is getting weaker with each instalment: I'm disappointed, but I'm still reading it. That's an endorsement of sorts, I suppose, and who knows - perhaps next time she'll risk something different?
11 comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 July 2015
It comes as a surprise to me to understand why, for two years running this title has been recommended for awards. Having just struggled through this book, I found it to be possessed of both god plot and subplot, although the choice of title is something of a misdirection. The problem is that the author felt obliged to include a lot of plot clutter.
It is a great pity that the publisher did not demand a clutter free rewrite.
To those who relish diluted storylines I would urge purchase, but to those who prefer good crime fiction look elsewhere!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 March 2014
very good and held my interest all the way through, great characters to follow and never boring, its about some ancient bones found at norwich castle and a mystery that needs solving along with an exciting kidnapping storyline and the misery it causes, obviously the police are involved it really is good, and of course the characters lives and love interests. Its a big 5 star +++
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
When archaeologist Ruth Galloway discovers what she believes to be the body of a long-dead murderess, her find becomes the subject of a TV documentary on Women Who Kill. Meantime in the present day, a young child has died and DCI Harry Nelson suspects he may have been murdered by his mother. Still haunted by the memory of the death of Scarlet Henderson (The Crossing Places), Nelson is struggling to deal with this case, especially since there is very little evidence to prove how little David died. And when another child is abducted, the tension really starts to mount...

After the slight disappointment I felt with Elly Griffiths' last outing, A Dying Fall, I thought the Ruth Galloway series might have run its course. But I'm delighted to say that this one is right back up to the standard of the earlier books in the series - a thoroughly enjoyable and well written novel with very strong characterisation throughout. Ruth has always been a great character but had got a bit bogged down in mild misery and angst, especially about her weight. Here, though, her senses of both humour and proportion seem to have re-asserted themselves and she's enjoying life. Her previous boyfriend Max has disappeared from the scene, with no tears of regret from this reader; and a new romance might be on the cards with Frank, an American historian presenting the documentary - who apparently looks more like George Clooney than any other man in Norfolk! Kate is now a talking toddler, and Griffiths writes very realistically about the pressures of being a working single mother without laying it on too thick.

I still have a couple of grumbles about the series. Firstly, there's the occasional slightly mystical element introduced which doesn't work for me, but that's a matter of personal preference rather than a criticism, and I was glad to see that Cathbad the druid still gets involved, even though he's now living in Lancashire. My second grumble is more serious, and that's that Griffiths continues to use the clunky and stilted present tense. To some degree, I forgive her - she was one of the first to start this annoying trend so at least she can't be accused of jumping on the bandwagon; but oh, how I wish she and all the other authors who overuse this artificial technique would jump off it now. It's been done - it's not original any more.

The plot works well, though Griffiths has of course trodden the ground of missing and dead children before. Through the archaeological strand, we find out about Mother Hook, a (fictional) Victorian baby-farmer - hanged for the murder of a child in her care. Frank, though, thinks she has been the subject of an injustice and is looking for Ruth to help find archaeological evidence that will back up his belief. Ruth's involvement in the present-day investigation relies too much on coincidence, but that's always going to be a problem when the main protagonist is not a member of the police, and on the whole Griffiths has made it work much more convincingly this time around. The solution, though, comes out of nowhere - this could not be called a fairplay novel - but it still works and provides a satisfying ending.

Mini-grumbles aside, this is a hugely enjoyable read and it's great to see both Griffiths and Ruth back on top form, putting this series firmly back onto my list of must-reads. Highly recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Quercus.
0Comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 December 2015
If you are looking for a novel with serious crime and detection The Outcast Dead is not the book for you as neither are to the forefront, rather it concentrates on the ongoing relationships between the characters and the nature of a mother's love. DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the death of a baby, the third child in the family to die young. He brings the mother in for questioning and gets a hard time from his team with many believing her innocent. At the same time Ruth has uncovered some bones at Norwich Castle which look to be those of Jemima Hook, a notorious 19th century child killer or is she? A television company is interested in making a documentary about the bones and possibly establishing her innocence. Then a baby goes missing.
The Outcast Dead is chiefly a meditation on motherhood and how working mothers are perceived which comes to no conclusions. It is not, however, preachy and the arguments are laid out naturally in the course of the novel, with Dr Ruth Galloway's thoughts an ever present voice of reason.
I didn't think much of the criminal plot which is rather lacklustre and seems almost like an afterthought but I thoroughly enjoy Ms Griffiths' writing and her main character Dr Ruth Galloway so I found her and her friends' doings absorbing and I galloped through the novel.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse