The Last Remains (A Ruth Galloway Mystery) by Elly Griffiths #MurderMystery #ContemporaryFiction @QuercusBooks @ellygriffiths #TuesdayBookBlog

61reP7SapjL._SX498_BO1,204,203,200_Author: Elly Griffiths

Published: January 2023 by Quercus

Category: Murder, Mystery, Police Procedural, Contemporary Fiction


When builders discover a human skeleton while renovating a café, they call in archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway, who is preoccupied with the threatened closure of her department and by her ever-complicated relationship with DCI Nelson.                                                     The bones turn out to be modern–the remains of Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing in 2002. Suspicion soon falls on Emily’s Cambridge tutor and also on another archeology enthusiast who was part of the group gathered the weekend before she disappeared–Ruth’s friend Cathbad.

This was a bittersweet read as it seems it’s the last in what has been one of my favourite series, despite a little frustration with with the Ruth/Nelson storyline. The indecisiveness continues with Ruth second guessing herself, even though Nelson and Michelle have separated after his soul searching at the end of the previous book.

When an old and empty shop in Kings Lynn is being renovated, the unsuspecting builder gets a huge shock when he discovers a complete skeleton in a cavity behind the wall he was knocking down. Ruth is called in and is happy to escape the university as all the talk is regarding the future of the Archeology Department. The unwelcome news is that the department, and consequently her job, are under threat. 

The remains are found to be that of a young archeology student who went missing around 20 years ago during a camping trip which included Cathbad, who is still recovering from the after effects of Covid, and was one of the last people to see the victim alive. His potential involvement brings things too close to home for Ruth and Nelson. As well as being involved in the cold case investigation, Ruth is lending her support to the campaign to save the Archeology Department, trying to gain the support of as many high profile people as possible.

Dr Ruth Galloway is having a difficult day. Teaching is over and final papers are being marked. The students have had a tough year, mostly in lockdown, communicating with their tutors only via Zoom. But they have produced good work and Ruth is proud of them. This should be a time when she is getting ready for graduation ceremonies, planning for the next term and lobbying the university for more money and resources. Instead, graduations have been cancelled again and Ruth is waiting for a committee to decide if her department will even exist next year.

I enjoy the way folklore and myths are interwoven into the plot lines in this series, and The Last Remains is no exception with Grime’s Graves, a Neolithic flint mine, featuring. The threads of the mystery, with echoes from the past, are very well plotted and woven together, the characters driving the story as always, the descriptive prose sprinkled with humour, and with Norfolk playing its not insignificant part in the unfolding drama. Cold cases are a draw, so this ranks as one of my favourite investigations.

So, The Last Remains is a story full of potential changes and questions — will Ruth and Nelson get together at last…what’s going to happen to Ruth’s archeology department…will Cathbad survive and will Nelson finally be pushed into retirement by his boss. It could go any of several ways…


Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly’s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece’s head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton.

norwich-5112047_1920 copy

9 thoughts on “The Last Remains (A Ruth Galloway Mystery) by Elly Griffiths #MurderMystery #ContemporaryFiction @QuercusBooks @ellygriffiths #TuesdayBookBlog

  1. Hmm, I gave up on this series several books ago, since I got so fed up with the whole Ruth/Nelson saga. But I am sorely tempted to read this one just to find out whether their on/off relationship ends up on or off!

    Liked by 1 person

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