Quercus | February 2017 | 384 pgs
Source: Library

The Chalk Pit is the ninth installment of Elly Griffiths' Dr Ruth Galloway mystery and though I jumped into this book without any idea of the characterisations or the writing style, I found myself enjoying this book featuring the main protagonist and DCI Harry Nelson working together during their investigations.

When some human bones are found buried beneath the grounds of an old chalk-mining tunnel in Norwich during an excavation for a new development project, Ruth thinks they are probably medieval although she is skeptical about their translucence appearance; a sign that they were boiled soon after death.

On the other end, DCI Nelson and his team are following up on a case of a missing homeless woman named Barbara after a few fellow homeless people reported not seeing her for weeks. There are some rumours about underground societies, ritual activities and even cannibalism but Ruth remains objective. Then two homeless people were found murdered and two more women were reported missing that make Ruth and the police think that there are something more than meet the eye surrounding the underground tunnels and they may have to dig deeper to unravel the mystery.

Despite my limited knowledge of the cast of characters, I found myself absorbed in this book quickly and it didn't take me too much time to get to know more about the characters and I loved it that way considering I was new to this series and on top of it I read it out of order. Ruth and Nelson are two very engaging characters with their past history and their complicated relationship (Nelson has two grown up children with his wife and another younger daughter with Ruth. Nelson stay married to his wife and his relationship with Ruth is considered more like friends. However, something happened along the way which I think might alter these characters' perspective and I'm very curious to see where this would take them in the future books.)

Another thing worth mentioning is the insight of the homeless people while reading this book. The author has covered several aspects about their circumstances and experiences which I couldn't help but to feel for them and while some were poor and not highly educated, a few had actually led a normal life until some situations pushed them off the edge.

All in all this was an intriguing read. Most of all, the dynamic between Ruth and Nelson kept me engaged throughout the book. I'll be sure to check out the other books of this series.

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8 Responses
  1. I should probably jump into this series and not worry about starting at the beginning. This does sound good, Melody. The portrayal of the homeless interests me in particular, especially given my own experiences. It sounds like the author is sensitive to the subject and captures their varied experiences and situations in life.

    Thank you for your great review, Melody.

  2. Lark Says:

    I've read a few books in this series about Dr. Ruth Galloway and enjoyed them, especially The Crossing Places. But I haven't read this one. It does sound good, though. Thanks for reminding me that there are books by this author that I still need to read. :D

  3. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Too many times I started reading a book out of order and while some books are best read in order, this is one of those books which we could easily fit into our reading and get sweep away by the story. I also love it that authors give some thoughts to the issues they write and portray them from another angle. I hope you'll enjoy this book like I did, Wendy.

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - I went to the library last Monday but couldn't find the first book. Given that I'd enjoyed this one I figured I could easily read her books out of order. :)

  5. jenclair Says:

    I've read a couple of these, but not in order. I haven't loved the books I've read like many people have though, so haven't tried to pursue it in order.

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - That's the case with most series books, isn't it? Some installments work while others don't. I'm glad I found this as a good start to this series. Hopefully the next few books I read will be as enjoyable.

  7. Iliana Says:

    Melody I do hope you get to check out more books in this series. This is one of a few series I'm caught up with (well, except this book) but part of what brings me back to it is the relationship between Ruth & Nelson. Can't wait to read this one.

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I'll be sure to check out the rest of this series. Ruth and Nelson are both interesting characters and I can't wait to know more about them.

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