The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths


Having now read the third book in the Ruth Galloway series, I can say Elly Griffiths has created a pleasing setting and appealing characters. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist who teaches at a university on the Norfolk coast in England who is called in to help the police when bones are found. Nelson, the detective she has worked with is tall, gruff, good at his job and happily married. In the first book he and Ruth fell into bed after a horrifying event. Now in the third book, their daughter Kate is some months old, and only those two know who the father is. There are other fun characters, most notably Cathbad the Druid who organizes a naming ceremony for Kate.

Besides the characters, there's the interesting setting. It is the erosion of the coastline that sets the plot in motion by uncovering six bodies of young men who turn out to have been dead for decades. The erosion is threatening a house (the house referred to in the title) which has already lost its back garden and is perched on the edge of a cliff. The Norfolk coastal area is lovingly described with its salt marshes and quaint villages.

The murderous events were not the most interesting part of the book, but an adequate vehicle for these characters.

Elly Griffiths, The House at Sea's End, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, 353 pages. 

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