Book eight in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. It is not the book cover that draws me into these books but the words written within that captivate my curiosity and sate my love for crime dramas.
The synopsis of this book is as follows:
When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in Walsingham’s graveyard, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear that a horrible crime has been committed, and DCI Nelson and his team are called in for what is now a murder investigation.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that she is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…
Ability to read – As with the others in the series, I had no problem reading this. The structure of the book and the language used created no barriers for me and I was able to read without issue. It is very easy to get into a Ruth Galloway book. The elements that Elly Griffiths puts into her books have become as easy as a flowing river. I know what to expect with her writing style and am therefore prepared for anything she throws at me. This was a difficult mystery for me to work out and had me accusing characters all the way through before the real killer was revealed.
Characterisation – I didn’t think there was anything more Elly Griffiths could make her characters do that would surprise me but I was proved wrong with this book. I wasn’t sure that there would be a place for Michelle anymore but again was proved wrong. The relationship triangle between Ruth, Nelson and Michelle gained a new level of agonising complexity that I wasn’t prepared for. It made me feel for the characters in a way I hadn’t before. I think there is a little bit of Ruth in all of us and that is a huge help when it comes to relating to Ruth and being able to visualise her.
I love how outgoing Kate is and how she’s almost a complete opposite of both her parents. It is enjoyable to see her flourish as she gets older and see how Ruth and Nelson manage parenting her.
I love the relationship between Judy and Cathbad because on paper it seems like it shouldn’t work and yet they have the most loving relationship and benefit from each others strong points and weaker points. The dynamic between their personalities is interesting to read and having their relationship and their life come into the foreground a little more is something I am all for.
It is lovely to see Clough regain some romance in his life. He is a character that I felt deserved some positive life involvement and I’m eager to see where his relationship with Cassandra leads.
Visualisation – Again, this was easy to visualise. I could picture all parts of the setting easily and was given enough detail to build my own version of what was being presented. As I have not been to Norfolk, most of what I read is visualised by my own imagination but I found the religious aspects of this book easier to visualise because of my own personal background.
It was intriguing to work with two separate bad influences. The killer and the letter writer. It made finding out who the suspects were all the harder to unravel. The ending was high charged again and through the chaos of all the people involved, I was still able to get a clear picture of what was happening.
I have one more book of Elly Griffiths to read. Book ten I haven’t bought yet and book eleven is not out yet but I am looking forward to reading both of them and continuing the journey with Ruth Galloway.