The Lantern Men is number 12 in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. You’d think after writing twelve in a series they would be getting stale. Not a bit of it. This one’s a real page-turner! Even when something has me laughing out loud for a whole three minutes–and boy, I needed that!
The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway #12)
Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.
She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March* offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more 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 digging.
Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more 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 deaths.
Is Ivor 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? [goodreads]
*I don’t know whether this name is changed in the US version–the Goodreads blurb actually give March the name Amyas, not Ivor.
Elly Griffiths sets some of the Dr Ruth Galloway books in parts of Norfolk I know pretty well. Some in parts I know of. Most of this (apart from the bits in Lynn itself) I know intimately. Elly Griffiths even names my village, tourist attraction and the best white wine I know within about 500 words of each other! And as for setting a lot of it on Cley marshes, well, it’s birdwatching heaven, so I’ve been there many many times.
So much for the setting, what about the story? Well, someone has murdered several tall, blonde, bright young women. The court has convicted him of two murders. But what of the other unsolved disappearances. And… how many other tall, blonde, bright young women are going to be entangled by the culprit? Nelson’s daughter? Other people’s daughter’s? Or is it even a syndicate, who used to be an artistic group working together and calling themselves the lantern men. I even pegged the women for it at one point. And the convicted murderer draws Ruth into his maniacal maze, which is really not good for her, not at all.
Nelson’s snarky side
There is a fair amount of psychology and psychobabble in this one, as Nelson has had the services of a crime profiler to ‘help’ him solve the crime. But it allows Nelson’s snarkiest side to come out, which is fun. We may even see all Nelson’s sides in this one: the full range of his emotions, plus his hero persona. The side play between DCI Judy and the up-and-coming DS Tanya adds some nice rivalry to the police procedural. The plot twists and turns, gives you an ‘uh-oh’ just when you realise that (s)he shouldn’t have done that….
This was the page turner I needed after some books I was less enthusiastic about, and even with all the daytime jobs I finished it inside 24 hours without loss of sleep! I was well aware that the next one came out on 3rd February, as I booked for the virtual launch party. I believe I’ve invested in a signed copy of The Night Hawks (Ruth #13), so watch this space!The Lantern Men by Elly Griffiths 'a real page-turner and an 'uh-oh' just when you realise that (s)he shouldn't have done that….' @ellygriffiths #crime #norfolk #5stars @jemima_pett Click To Tweet