38. The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths

I got this for my birthday from my Mum and Dad. My Mum was so excited to give it to me because it’s a signed copy. I finally got round to reading it, only a month after my birthday!

Synopsis (as taken from Amazon) is as follows:

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they>?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig at the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old- girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

Ability to read – The way Elly Griffiths writes is so warm and inviting. I never feel like she’s trying to tell a story that’s complicated or that she’s over described or detailed what is happening. I never have to stop and reread a page to try and get what she’s saying. I know all the character’s so well now that I can understand their actions/reactions as if they were my own. It has definitely increased my ability to read to a higher level.

Characterisation – The characters in this installment did not do what I wanted them to do! BUT, it wasn’t a bad thing. Over the course of eleven books, as the reader, I have wanted many things to happen to the characters involved and have been disappointed when things have gone a different way. However, I came to realise that what happens to the characters and their relationships with each other in this book, is exactly what the characters should do/act. So, while it might not be what I wanted for the characters, I can’t deny that what happens isn’t right for the characters. Elly Griffiths knows her characters inside out and knows how to tease her reading audience. The ongoing relationship/friendship between Ruth and Nelson in this book was interesting because I was constantly brought back to The Crossing Places and how the two characters met.

To me, it doesn’t seem that long ago but I know it has been a long time for the characters and it was interesting to reflect on that and remember how Ruth and Nelson have changed over the books and developed into more complex and deep characters. I have really enjoyed in the latter part of the series, how some of the minor characters have become major ones. Characters like Cathbad, Judy, Clough and Michelle. It has been interesting to watch them grow and become more detailed characters. I think the whole cast of characters in the series all mesh well together and each brings a different part to the game. I couldn’t imagine the books without them.

Visualisation – As with characterisation, I know the places very well because I’ve been imagining them for eleven books now. I might not have been their personally but my visual construct is very strong. I find it easy to visualise what is happening to the characters and the surrounding scenarios/landscape. Never have I felt at odds between what I am reading and what I am imagining. Before reading The Dark Angel and The Stone Circle, I hadn’t read a Ruth Galloway Mystery since Christmas, and I had no difficulty with the gap between reading to visualise again what I had before.

Uniqueness – I see all the time with crime television programmes, the revisit of a storyline and I often find that it doesn’t work or too much emphasis has been placed on making links that the whole thing feels forced and unnecessary. I didn’t get that bored, predictable return with this. I thought The Stone Circle was unique in that although it referenced the similarity between cases, it still had its own story to tell and mystery to unravel. It didn’t try to be something it wasn’t and still gave the reader twists and turns to theorise about.

Extra – I lived for this book! I read it on Sunday and practically swallowed the book whole in my efforts to find out all its secrets. There were so many moments when I was willing something to happen and then having to come to terms with it not happening. I changed my mind over and over again to what I wanted to happen to the characters and though I didn’t get what I wanted, I feel like Elly Griffiths stayed true to the characters and gave them a story that suited them perfectly.

Hannah xoxo

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