The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway #10) by Elly Griffiths ~ Archaeology & Italy #CrimeFiction #Mystery @ellygriffiths

Author: Elly Griffiths

Published: February 2018 by Quercus

Category: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway leaves Norfolk behind for the hilltop town of Castello degli Angeli in sunny Italy when she receives a phone call from an old colleague and one time lover, Angelo Morelli. Bones have been discovered at a dig in the Liri Valley. They could possibly be Roman, but there are some inconsistencies and Ruth’s expertise is called for. Ruth is feeling an unusual need for a holiday after events lately, and the realisation that DCI Harry Nelson’s wife’s surprise pregnancy has spelled the end of her newly burgeoning hopes, despite the fact there are doubts about the paternity of Michelle’s baby. So, together with her daughter Kate, best friend Shona and Shona’s son Louis, Ruth travels to Italy.

Back in Norfolk Nelson is called to a building site when human bones are uncovered. Asking for Ruth to attend the scene, he’s more than put out to discover Ruth has taken Kate to Italy without mentioning it to him. More unwelcome news involves someone he helped convict and send to prison ten years ago, has been released early. When he was sentenced, Mickey Webb threatened to get even with Nelson but now seems to have found Jesus and become a new man. Not that Nelson believes that for a moment. More worrying however, is the news of an earthquake in Italy.

They have ordered lunch and are chatting in a desultory way when Nelson becomes aware that the TV is on in the background. He’s not keen on televisions in pubs unless they’re showing football, but he takes a glance in case there’s a match on. Instead he sees grainy newsreel shots and the running footnote that he always associates with disasters.

Earthquake in Lazio, Italy. Many feared dead.

Worries about Ruth and Kate increase when the phone goes unanswered, and he and Cathbad, Ruth’s friend and the partner of one of Nelson’s team, book a flight to Italy.

The storylines initially run concurrently, with a marked contrast between Italy and Norfolk . Events are escalating in both places and, despite the sunshine and holiday atmosphere, the seemingly idyllic Italian town has its darker undercurrents and the past rears its ugly head in the form of a nasty murder. Ruth is uncomfortable staying in the apartment Angelo has made available for their use as it becomes obvious someone doesn’t want them there. 

The repercussions of Italy’s role in the second world war and how it affected the descendants of those who were involved in certain roles added an interesting historical thread to the story. 

I love the way Elly Griffiths writes about her characters–the insight, self-deprecating humour and their complicated relationships. This really is a quite a large part of the storylines, especially this one, with the murder/mysteries sometimes taking second place. Engaging and realistic, the characters are well developed, and the mix of archaeology, history and crime make this a very readable and enjoyable series. Nelson is torn between his feelings for Ruth and wanting to do right by his wife. Ruth understands and respects him for that while at the same time feeling down about the whole situation. 

The return of DS Tim Heathfield complicates matters even more, and leads to a shocking twist at the end, which is bound to have consequences for all involved. Can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Elly Griffiths was born in London. The inspiration for her books about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway came from her husband who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist. Elly lives near Brighton but often spends holidays on the wild Norfolk coast. She has two children and a cat.

Author links ~ Website | Facebook | Twitter  

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