Some books do really read themselves.You can read one of 368 pages and it reads like it was barely 150 pages in total Others remain unfinished or drag on indeterminately as 320 pages feel like 700 plus pages with no end in sight.Elly Griffiths is a natural story teller Her words flow off the page like the breaths you take The Lantern Men is the 12th novel in the Ruth Galloway series Where others may in a formulaic fashion just perpetuate their characters Elly imbues them with life and vitality So this apart from the central tension between Nelson and Ruth is a fresh and original outing for the gang 2 years have passed much has changed but some things may never change.Ruth has taken a new post in Cambridge academic recognition for her work and experience She is living with Frank who is devoted to Ruth and doted on her daughter Kate Nelson is getting on with his life still with Michelle and his focus is perhaps centred on their son George Nelson is frustrated that despite getting a guilty verdict on serial killer Ivor March he has been unable to link him to two other missing women whose bodies have not been found.This is a wonderfully woven crime mystery that is based on a police procedural in the stunning location of Norfolk, England From the opening prologue the sense of menace never eases up and the story unfolds like a well wrapped Christmas present There is no tearing away of sheets of paper It is like a dance of the seven veils as layers are laid bare, like a expectant game of pass the parcel.The skill of the book is the premise of The Lantern Men and the sense of foreboding that draws women to danger like moths to a candle This mystical tale of a malevolent presence over marshland and the fens is as scary as Candyman or Dracula You are brought fully into this sense of myth and legend especially as you perceive a human element buying into the folklore As characters within find to their cost It is heart stopping and breath taking.The author has brought us one of the most memorable episodes of this series reconnecting to the salt marsh and those liminal places between land and sea There is also that sense of threat to love ones that makes crime personal and hits home The cast of characters are well formed, balanced and all get an outing here but you quickly guess that the outcome might not favour all.A writer comfortable with her craft, bringing thought to her work and as always joy to her growing list of readers and fans A must read in 2020. Everything Has Changed For Dr Ruth GallowayShe Has A New Job, Home And Partner, And Is No Longer North Norfolk Police S Resident Forensic Archaeologist That Is, Until Convicted Murderer Amyas March Offers To Make DCI Nelson A Deal Nelson Was Always Sure That March Killed Women Than He Was Charged With Now March Confirms This, And Offers To Show Nelson Where The Other Bodies Are Buried But Only If Ruth Will Do The DiggingCurious, But Wary, Ruth Agrees March Tells Ruth That He Killed Four Women And That Their Bodies Are Buried Near A Village Bordering The Fens, Said To Be Haunted By The Lantern Men, Mysterious Figures Holding Lights That Lure Travellers To Their DeathsIs Amyas March Himself A Lantern Man, Luring Ruth Back To Norfolk What Is His Plan, And Why Is She So Crucial To It And Are The Killings Really Over Ruth Galloway, Oh My 12, available in the US 16 June 2020 not May 2020 I m ready already Just saw that it pubs in the UK on 6 February 2020 I think Those who can acquire early, should Sounds like another super outing for Ruth Review to follow on publication day. How much fun it is to be back in Ruth Galloway s world As ever, the plot isn t the greatest, slow to get going and filled with cliches view spoiler not least the obligatory climax as Ruth is lured yet again into the clutches of the maniac serial killer before being rescued in the nick of time by Nelson hide spoiler I would like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of The Lantern Men, the twelfth novel to feature forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson of the Norfolk Police.Ivor March has just been convicted of killing two women and DCI Nelson is convinced that he has killed another two women When asked March says he will reveal their location if Ruth Galloway agrees to do the excavation Ruth is wary but agrees and finds than she bargained for.I thoroughly enjoyed The Lantern Men which is a very comfortable read with some good twists I think I say it every time I review this series but it s as much about the characters and their interactions as it is about the plot so, after so many novels, it s like meeting up with old friends It gives the novel a lovely, comfortable feeling that is unmatched in my other reading Ruth has moved to Cambridge with her partner Frank and Nelson, father of her daughter, Katie, is raising his late baby son, George, with wife Michelle This creates an interesting and, at times, awkward dynamic which is further amplified by Ruth and Nelson s unvoiced thoughts on the subject I love it and am constantly interested in where Ms Griffiths will take it next It is fascinating to me that it is such an open secret All the other regulars are there as well although i would have wished to see a prominent role for the amazing Cathbad, new age Druid and all round prescient being.I have never thought that plotting was Ms Griffiths strongest point but The Lantern Men is one of the better ones It mixes old myth with some modern day crimes and presents quite a puzzle that I didn t manage to solve I like that it settles on a small group of suspects as it makes it easy for the reader to identify them and allows a in depth look at their characters, motives and actions while making it difficult to work out a suspect Is it Ivor or is he innocent as his supporters claim Or is it a conspiracy Who knows Not this reader who was baffled.The Lantern Men is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending. I did enjoy being a part of Ruth and Nelson s world for a little while It s always good to catch up with familiar characters and see what they are currently up to This has an interesting plot A serial killer, Ivor March, currently awaiting sentencing for his crimes, and when he lets Nelson know that he will reveal the burial place of his final two victims on the proviso that Ruth is the forensic archaeologist on site, a strange story starts to unfold Woven into the plot is the strange and haunting local legend of the Lantern Men, the treacherous salt marshes of the Norfolk coast, a group of local artists and their entwined relationships with the aforementioned Ivor which makes for some creepy situations and plenty of red herrings The only criticism I would have is that view spoiler Ruth had to end up in a situation that requires Nelson to rescue her hide spoiler All change for forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and the gang in a terrific twelfth instalment Two years on from the events of The Stone Circle and life has moved on not only for forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway, but for all of the recurring cast in Elly Griffiths latest instalment of a series that mixes archaeology, murder and characters readers have come to care about In an instalment where the mystery element is tightly plotted and a combination of local myth and contemporary serious crime, the novel excels with a solid police procedural full of accessible archaeology detail, local folklore and credible character motivations.In a bid to get over her complicated relationship with DCI Harry Nelson of King s Lynn CID and progress her career, forensic archaeologist, Dr Ruth Galloway, has left her beloved cottage on the Saltmarsh behind and with it the University of North Norfolk Swapping the life that she was so content with for the dreaming spires of Cambridge and living with American historian, Dr Frank Barker, she is adjusting to teaching at St Jude s College, having a partner and parenting her rapidly maturing nine year old daughter, Kate, with Nelson, now an hour away in North Norfolk Meanwhile fifty year old DCI Harry Nelson is raising what he hopes will be his fourth and final child, two and a half year old George, after wife Michelle s unexpected arrival, not that this does anything to lessen his silent and irrational fury at Ruth cohabiting with smarmy Frank When DCI Nelson hears the news that Ivor March has been found guilty of murdering two young women whose bodies were buried in the garden of his girlfriend it is small compensation given he is convinced that two other missing girls have died at March s hands When Nelson visits March in prison and questions him about Nicola Ferris and Jenny McGuire, both of whom he met through the evening classes that he ran, March rather surprisingly says that he is willing to disclose their whereabouts but only if Dr Ruth Galloway will excavate, leaving Nelson highly suspicious The opportunity to bring closure to two grieving families and the lure of working on another case sees Ruth agree, only for the location to give up than expectedAs the team look into the goings on at a writers and artists retreat of which Ivor March was a part of they discover a local myth about the lights of the so called Lantern Men leading the lost to their deaths and March and his spiritual brothers real life interpretation, supposedly without the dark twist Nelson thinks otherwise and sets about investigating the individuals involved, only for the murder of young female cyclist fitting March s chosen profile in a remote area of marshland to present the team with a fresh enquiry but it is a copycat killing or does it prove Ivor Marsh s innocence Whilst DI Dave Clough is heading up his own team in Cambridgeshire, DI Judy Johnson, ambitious DS Tanya Fuller and Super Jo Archer remain and are joined in CID by DC Tony Zhang Together with the link to local legends, the mystery entails several complexities which make it both satisfying and involving As usual there is a strong sense of place with the proximity to the Norfolk coast and the fens Full of the Griffiths usual wit, situational comedy moments and the everyday realities of life, the plot weaves in an array of connections, from Ruth having just attended a writing retreat at Ivor March s ex wife s venue to part time druid Cathbad s daughter, Maddie, reporting on the case for the local newspaper.My favourite returning crime fiction series without a doubt and one that is best served by reading in order for the continuing wider storylines and character development. I adore Elly Griffiths character driven Dr Ruth Galloway series A large part of the charm is getting to know these characters in great detail finding out about their relationships, their children and how their personalities bring different things to the cases they investigate.If you are a regular reader of this series, I guarantee that, like me, you will have urged Ruth to move on from her on off relationship with the married D.C.I Nelson, and shouted at her when she seems unable to do so Not because Nelson is married, but because Ruth deserves so much Nelson doesn t like Frank he s far too smooth and American for his liking and he s not happy that Frank is so close to his and Ruth s daughter, Kate.So for me, it was something of a relief to find that in this 12th book, Ruth has literally moved on She s accepted a new job in Cambridge University and she, her current partner Frank and her daughter Kate are now living in Cambridge Frank is kind and supportive and Ruth has recently finished a book, enabled by Frank to take time out at Grey Walls, a writers and artists retreat, run by Crissy Martin.Though she doesn t want to admit it, despite all of Frank s attentions, Ruth misses her salt marsh cottage almost as much as she misses her regular interactions with Nelson.So when Nelson is prompted to ask Ruth for help with a case, she can t help but jump at the chance.Ivor March has been convicted of the murder of two young women, found buried in his girlfriend s, garden But two women are still missing and Nelson knows that Ivor is responsible He visits him in prison, looking to get Ivor to say what he has done with their bodies.March agrees to co operate, but only if Ruth is involved in the excavation The previous forensic archaeology work on Ivor s case had been carried out by Phil Trent, Ruth s former boss Predictably, Ruth jumps at the chance to be involved.When it transpires that Ruth s involvement is partly a result of her visit to Grey Walls, it s clear that this artists retreat has a larger role to play in the disappearance of these two women than either Ruth or Nelson could have guessed Weaving myth and folklore of the marshes with these cases, Griffiths evokes the Lantern Men of yore in this tale of women lead across the marshes to their deaths.As Ruth digs for the truth, than one life will be put in jeopardy before this case is over.All of our favourite series characters are here, even Cloughie, who now has a patch of his own Cathbad is in his element, dealing with the spirits of the marshes and never failing to be the solid dependable Druid.Verdict Unmissable for all Galloway fans Griffiths cast of likeable and fabulously drawn characters come together again to solve a neatly plotted and elegantly told mystery. I swear each book in this series gets better and better, no mean feat considering this is book number twelve in the Ruth Galloway series I have to admit having been a little dismayed at the start to find that everything has changed for Ruth since the last book She and daughter Katie are living with Frank in a Cambridge town house and has taken a prestigious job at the University there No longer is she North Norfolk police s resident forensic archaeologist, although if she were honest she would have to admit the lure of the Saltmarsh and DCI Harry Nelson Katie s father has never truly gone away The story starts with the conviction of Ivor March for the murder of two young women, although Nelson has always been convinced he was also responsible for the deaths of two Since Ruth had already moved away, it was her former boss Phil who was instrumental in unearthing the bodies and evidence that were crucial to March s arrest and imprisonment While Phil receives a strange message on a postcard, Nelson gets a very tempting offer March will reveal the whereabouts of two corpses but only if Ruth does the excavating this time Ruth is tempted by the chance to do some good and also break up her rather mundane existence, and agrees to speak to March who tells her that the bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens A place said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, ghostly figures who lure travellers to their deaths with their lights It is one of the very many tales told about the area that seem to be widely known and even believed by some people, but could it be that there also be some very real and human Lantern Men As Ruth joins forces with detectives Nelson, Judy and Tanya, the plot thickens with each new discovery Niggling doubts grow that they might have got the wrong man and the killings may not be over at all Ruth becomes drawn deeper into the legend and many old secrets are revealed in a dramatic finale Not even knowing who she can trust any , she must rely on her instincts and her old friends in order to emerge from this unscathed The author has excelled in bringing all the old gang back together and even Cloughie, who has moved away to Cambridgeshire to run his own team as a DI, gets in on the action The Ruth Galloway series is definitely best read in order, although every book is hugely enjoyable in its own right, and for me it is like coming home to old friends In my opinion the author never fails to deliver and has maintained the consistently high standards of all the previous novels All the old favourite characters such as Judy and Cathbad feature in a brilliantly told and compulsive read I can t recommend these books enough
Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece s head with the myths and legends of that area Elly has two children and lives near Brighton Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places is her first crime novel.
- 368 pages
- The Lantern Men
- Elly Griffiths
- 14 September 2019 Elly Griffiths