Recently I’ve been reading novels from a series by Elly Griffiths which combine two favourite subjects, crime mysteries and archaeology! I wrote about her books with the main character of Ruth Galloway a couple of weeks ago, since then I have galloped through several more and I think they get better and better. The descriptions of the scenery – in all but one of the books I have read so far it has been Norfolk, but in the latest it is back in an area i know very well, Lancashire – is excellent. Writing about place is something I’m not very good at, I can visualise where m=y own stories take place vividly, but somehow miss it our when I’m writing. In Elly Griffiths books the landscape becomes a character.
I think the main reason I have become so hooked on this series is the main character, Ruth. She is so real and realistically described that i almost feel i know her. This has happened a coupe of times with me before, George Smiley, Matthew Shardlake, Vera (in books by John le Carré, C.J. Sansom, Ann Cleeves) but I don’t ever think I’ve come across a character which is truly so believable. Ruth is a real woman, overweight, messy, muddly, forgetful, passionate, focused, intelligent, lacking in confidence, loyal, intelligent – how others see her comes as a surprise to her I really feel I have met people like Ruth, been at school and college with women like her. She sometimes says and does the wrong thing, let’s her heart take over where her head should be in charge, is long-suffering and forgiving when friends and lovers let her down – all in a very realistic way. Although the stories are exciting and gripping, and actually if you think about it, unbelievable, they somehow seem believable because Ruth is believable. The books aren’t funny, but there are small everyday incidents which are humorous, not necessarily Ruth’s mishaps, but her amused observations of small comical ordinary incidents.
There are eleven books in the series, so I have a few ahead of me, and Elly Griffiths has written other novels too, some set in Brighton which I visited last week. I have the feeling that when I finish all of her work, I might just have to start all over again!
Here is a link to what I wrote previously: