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Book DetailsISBN: 9781787477810
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Book Review: The Night Hawks: Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 13 by Elly Griffiths - Reviewed by Sarah (04 Feb 2021)
It's always cause for celebration when a new Elly Griffiths novel comes out! The Night Hawks is the lucky thirteenth instalment in Griffiths' archaeologically-themed Dr. Ruth Galloway series, and is just as gripping as her legion of fans have come to expect. A group of "Night Hawks", amateur but registered metal detectorists, come across the body of a young man, while searching for coins in the dunes of the Blakeney National Nature Reserve. Dr. Ruth Galloway has returned from Cambridge to head up the archaeology department at the University of North Norfolk, her former boss Phil Trent having retired. She's called in by D.C.I. Harry Nelson to consult when an apparently Bronze-age skeleton is unearthed, together with a hoard of ancient weapons, not far from the current crime scene. Within days, a police officer who was a first responder at Blakeney Head has died suddenly and an apparent murder-suicide occurs at a Norfolk farmhouse, two of the "Night Hawks" again happening on the scene. How are the deaths connected, or is the presence of the same witnesses purely coincidental? Elly Griffiths' plotting is of a superlative standard, as usual. The Night Hawks has a complex, multi-layered plot with many seemingly separate narrative threads, all drawn cleverly together for a thrilling and satisfying conclusion. There's plenty of archaeological material for Ruth to get her trowel into, in addition to themes involving medical ethics, dysfunctional families and local legend. The main character, Dr. Ruth Galloway, is well-developed and three-dimensional, balancing the challenges of single parenthood with a demanding career. In many ways, she's pleased to be back in familiar territory at UNN, albeit in a management role, with all that entails. She, 11-year-old Kate and Flint are all pleased to be living back at their Saltmarsh cottage. However, a new colleague is antagonising her and her relationship with D.C.I. Nelson, who's also Kate's father, continues to be somewhat prickly. The wonderful Cathbad, Ruth's multi-talented druid / intuitive friend, plays an important supporting role throughout The Night Hawks, his personality leaping off the page in every scene in which he appears. While The Night Hawks would be an engrossing read as a standalone, reading as a continuation of the series is especially rewarding, given the wonderful cast of recurring characters and their evolving relationships. Highly recommended for all readers who enjoy intelligent character-based mysteries and psychological dramas. My thanks to the author, Elly Griffiths, publisher Quercus Books and Netgalley, for the opportunity to read and review this title.
Book Review: The Night Hawks: Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 13 by Elly Griffiths - Reviewed by CloggieA (15 Jan 2021)
5 stars The Night Hawks is the thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloway series by award-winning British author, Elly Griffiths. Now Head of Department at the University of North Norfolk, Dr Ruth Galloway is dismayed to find herself spouting the phrases about funding she abhorred when they came from her former boss. Her new hire, archaeologist David Brown, arrogant, smug and irritating, is the target of several.
How he manages to ride along to Blakeney Point when DCI Harry Nelson request-demands her input at the scene of a body washed up (an illegal alien?), she can’t quite understand. The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists who hunt for buried historical artefacts at night (nuisances, in Ruth’s opinion), stumbled over the body near a find of coins and weapons.
David Brown is excited by the likelihood that it’s Bronze Age, and the skeletal remains could be one of the European Beaker People whose virus, he theorises, wiped out Neolithic Britons. He envisages facial reconstructions and museum displays; Ruth fears for her departmental budget.
The next night, one of the Night Hawks alerts Police to a shooting at Black Dog Farm that looks like a murder-suicide: Cambridge researcher Dr Douglas Noakes and his wife Linda. Mention of a body in the suicide note has Ruth and her team digging up the garden, at which David Brown once again appears.
Certain anomalies see Nelson unconvinced that the scene was not staged, and the team are soon looking deeper into the family and associates, as well as the metal detectorists who seem to be on the spot. Diligent investigation by the team gradually reveals noteworthy connections and pertinent facts, but the list of suspects and possible motives seems to expand. And all the while, to the annoyance of his Super, Nelson inserts himself in the action when she feels he should be seriously considering retirement.
“Nelson thinks about retirement for about eight seconds and then dismisses the idea. The force needs his experience and know-how. There are some things you can only learn from years of actually doing the job.”
Meanwhile, the washed-up body is identified as a local; then a young policeman dies unexpectedly, and enquiries lead Nelson’s team to a Cambridge research lab: could there be something illegal going on? In the background to it all is the Norfolk legend of the Black Shuck, a harbinger of evil whose manifestation is making fleeting appearances, unnerving many.
Another murder, a shooting and a hostage taking are all part of the dramatic climax. Once again, Griffiths keeps the reader guessing right up to the final chapters with red herrings and misdirections, and, as always in these stories, she demonstrates how the solving of a crime depends very much on a team effort. In this instalment, the usually unspoken relationship between Ruth and Nelson gets more of an airing, and Cathbad plays a significant role. Clever, exciting and informative: more of Ruth, Nelson and co will be most welcome. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Quercus/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers
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