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)