8 February 2018
In this, the tenth, book in the Ruth Galloway series of mysteries, The Dark Angel, sees Ruth away from her beloved Norfolk. On the invitation of an old flame she is is invited to act as a consultant on an archaeological discovery in the pretty Italian town of Castelli degi Angeli, which is about an hour's drive from Rome. Ruth's fleeting romantic association with archaeologist, Angelo Morrelli, was over twelve years ago, so when she gets his phone call asking for her advice on a difficult case, she is at first reluctant to get involved. However, the idea of getting away from Norfolk is an attractive proposition, and using this consultancy work as an excuse for a holiday, Ruth travels with her daughter, Kate, and her friend Shona, with her little boy, Louis.
From the start all is not as it seems at Castelli degi Angeli and as Ruth gets drawn further and further into the mystery surrounding the archaeological discovery, so she realises that there is far more to this investigation than Angelo Morrelli is admitting.
It was interesting in this tenth anniversary story to take Ruth out of her comfort zone and place her in an environment which allowed her to work without the usual background of a wild and windswept Norfolk. However, Ruth's natural ability to get things moving is just as creative in Italy, as it is back at home, and I didn't feel that the story lost anything by taking it to a different location.
I read through The Dark Angel at top speed, always eager to see where the story will lead and it's not always the crime aspect of the investigation which grabs my attention, often, it's more the interaction between the other characters which I enjoy the most, especially around Ruth's complicated relationship with DCI Harry Nelson. So, even though Ruth may be away from Norfolk, there is still quite a bit of complicated stuff happening back at home, which undoubtedly adds a different dimension to the story. There's a bit of a surprise in this book which I didn't see coming, and which shakes things up a lot ,and whilst I can't give the game away, it did sort of startle me a little, as I hoped that this particular aspect of the story would gather momentum.
The writing is, as always, sharp and beautifully observed, and the complex relationship which has been created between these well loved characters continues to be the absolute strength of the series. I have grown really fond of everyone, and hope to see Ruth Galloway and her mysteries continue for another ten ...or more years.
Of course, it must be said that if you are new to the series, and if so, wherever have you been for the last ten years.....you really should start these books from the very beginning. You won't be disappointed.
Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing for many years. 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 Peculiar Crime Novel of theYear. Her Stephens and Mephisto series is based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brigton with her husband and their two children.