This is the fourth book in the Ruth Galloway mysteries, and I saw some reviewers found it either difficult to keep track of all these characters or they didn’t want so much back story referring to the previous volumes they’d read. So I guess the author got it more or less right. I was happy with the characters and their backstory, but I imagine I’d be struggling if I’d left longer between them, like some other series I’ve mentioned recently!
This time there isn’t so much archaeology in the story, although it does involve a 13th century body, which has been dug up, still in an elaborate coffin, and turns out to be a bishop. The bishop happens to be an ancestor of the local racehorse trainer, who, being the descendent fallen on hard times, is still the benefactor of the local museum, where said coffin is to be opened with all due pomp. Shame that just before the set time, Ruth Galloway discovers a dead curator at the coffin’s feet.
There are plenty of threads to be twisted up in this one, and I noted them without feeling a huge need to put much mental agility into unraveling them before the denouement. Some reviewers did, and did not enjoy it; I didn’t and thoroughly enjoyed the story. I can imagine that some might not like the involvement of Dreamtime legends and mysticism, but I thought it was very well done, and the nightmares experienced by both the racehorse trainer and our hero detective, Nelson, were vividly described. I also liked the racing bit, picking up on some details that were wrong, which happily were wrong on purpose!
So although I’ll add a caution that it’s a slight departure from the formula (and Kate has grown out of formula by now, if you’re following the baby’s progress) with some interesting developments on the personal circumstances of the main protagonists, not all of which are sweetness and light. Very human, in fact.
As you know, I enjoy this series, and have given it a Goodreads 5 stars, particularly for the amazing nightmares. It may be a ‘love it or hate it’ kind of book. Something we refer to as Marmite in the UK. You’ll have to Google it 😉
A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4) by Elly Griffiths (link to Goodreads)