I’m beginning to get rather excited as I am privileged to be interviewing Elly Griffiths at my local Deepings Literary Festival at the end of May and, having heard her speak at several other events and loving her writing, I was thrilled when a surprise copy of Elly’s latest Ruth Galloway novel The Stone Circle arrived. My enormous thanks to Hannah Robinson at Quercus for sending it to me.
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths was one of the first books I reviewed when I began blogging and you’ll find that review here. My review of The Crossing Places is here and of Smoke and Mirrors is here.
(I also have a review of Elly’s Domenica de Rosa novel One Summer in Tuscany here.)
Published by Quercus on 7th February 2019, you can purchase The Stone Circle in e-book or hardback or pre-order the paperback through these links.
The Stone Circle
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 in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the 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.
My Review of The Stone Circle
The past is about to catch up with Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson.
I have a confession. I have all the Dr Ruth Galloway novels sitting on my shelves awaiting reading and I kept thinking I couldn’t read the latest until I’d caught up with all the others. How wrong can a person be? The Stone Circle is possibly enhanced by knowing a bit about the other stories, but coming to it without having read anything else by Elly Griffiths wouldn’t matter at all. The ease with which past histories for her characters are slipped naturally into the writing is just fabulous to read. Elly Griffiths has a smooth, sophisticated and completely accessible style that I’m sure other writers can only dream of, so that The Stone Circle can be read as a complete stand alone despite being part of a series.
The plot to The Stone Circle is so captivating because it is entirely plausible and yet still takes the reader by surprise. Part of the joy in this is the almost deadpan manner in which major events are sometimes revealed and the wonderful touches of humour. I love the undercurrent of mysticism too as it is only ever a suggestion that can usually be explained but still manages to be entirely beguiling. The misty, superstitious Norfolk setting adds to this atmosphere, as past and present echo and reverberate through the story.
But for me, despite being entirely engrossed in the narrative, it is the characters who make Elly Griffiths such a pleasure to read. The people in The Stone Circle are so human and real with their flaws, their desires and the messy realities of their lives that reading about them made me want to meet them and to be part of the action with them. Dr Ruth Galloway is a wonderful almost anti-heroine and all the more attractive for that. She lives in splendid geographical isolation and I thought the way in which she is presented almost at a tangent to the main action in The Stone Circle, and yet is still absolutely necessary to the plot, was just perfect. And I am, without doubt, completely in love with Nelson!
It’s hard to pin down the captivating quality of Elly Griffiths’ writing in The Stone Circle. The writing is accessible, the plot is wonderful, the setting vivid and the characters completely believable and yet somehow those elements add up to something greater than their sum should be. Elly Griffiths has a magic touch in this Dr Ruth Galloway series and I loved The Stone Circle without reservation. It is another winner.
About Elly Griffiths
Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.
Elly’s The Brighton Mysteries series is set in the 1950s and 1960s. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two grown children.