I’m a simple reader really, I want a story with a puzzle, a story with plenty of twists – surprises which are unexpected but believable, engaging characters – not necessarily likeable but again, believable and realistic, consistency, settings which are vivid and interesting but not delivered in great chunks of adjectives strung together, stories with a hook to keep me going, and then at the end a feeling of satisfaction but sadness that the adventure is at an end. it doesn’t have to be a happy ending, but it does have to make sense and give a sense of completion. Not much to ask!
I’ve written recently about the Dr Ruth Galloway series by Ellie Griffiths which I have very much enjoyed. Ruth is an archaeologist and specialist in bones, and is often called on by the police to look at skeletal remains to determine whether they are recent or ancient and if some crime may have been committed. I particularity like Ruth’s character, she is very believable, and I like the humorous threads woven into the narrative. The setting for most of the novels is north Norfolk, an area I know from childhood and it’s beautifully and vividly described. I’ve now read all the books in the series and looking forward to the next one which will be released in a few months time.
I felt a little bereft when I finished them, however, fortunately Elly Griffiths has written other books and I am now enjoying her Brighton series, set in the 1950’s and with main characters who worked in the same secret unit during the war. Edgar Stephens is now a detective inspector, and Max Mephisto is a magician and actor. I’m enjoying these books, but not quite as much as the Ruth series – maybe I don’t find the characters quite so interesting – although you would have thought they would be – a magician and a policeman, not interesting?!! The crimes they investigate are intriguing, in the first story of the series ‘The Zig-Zag Girl’the murders were committed as a result of events which had happened during the war involving Stephens and Mephisto. The second, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ has a very intriguing plot with some disturbing ideas and images involving fairy tales and missing children.
Here’s a link to Elly Griffiths page about this series: