Series to Savour 7 – Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mysteries

This morning, as I peruse my lovely bookshelves I spy one of my all-time favorite series and realize that I have not yet posted about it on my “Series to Savour” blog series. Well, that must be remedied immediately!  I’m referring to the Ruth Galloway mysteries written by Elly Griffiths.  The Ruth novels are a joy!

About Elly Griffiths (from the author’s website)

Elly Griffiths is the pseudonym for Domenica de Rosa.  She has written four books under her real name.  She was born in London in 1963 and her family moved to Brighton when she was five. She loves Brighton – the town, the surrounding countryside and, most of all, the sea. She went to local state schools and wrote her first book when she was a eleven, a murder mystery set in Rottingdean, near the village where she still lives. At secondary school she used to write episodes of Starsky and Hutch (early fan fiction) and very much enjoyed making her readers cry.

She did all the right things to become a writer: She studied English at King’s College London and, after graduating, worked in a library, for a magazine and then as a publicity assistant at HarperCollins. She loved working in publishing and eventually became Editorial Director for children’s books at HarperCollins. All this completely put her off writing and it wasn’t until she was on maternity leave in 1998 that she wrote what would become her first published novel, The Italian Quarter.

Three other books followed, all about Italy, families and identity. By now she had two children and her husband Andy had just given up his city job to become an archaeologist. They were on holiday in Norfolk, walking across Titchwell Marsh, when Andy mentioned that prehistoric man had thought that marshland was sacred. Because it’s neither land nor sea, but something in-between, they saw it as a kind of bridge to the afterlife. Neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. As he said these words the entire plot of The Crossing Places appeared, full formed, in my head and, walking towards me out of the mist, I saw Dr Ruth Galloway. She didn’t think that this new book was significantly different from her ‘Italy’ books but, when she read it, her agent said, ‘This is crime. You need a crime name.’

And that’s how she became Elly Griffiths.

The Ruth Galloway series is set mostly in a brooding
saltmarsh area of England’s Norfolk coast

Titchwell saltmarsh

Her protagonist, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archaelogist who lives alone with her two cats in an isolated cottage on Norfolk’s Saltmarsh coast.  Ruth is ascerbic, solitary and strangely loveable. She works as the Head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk. Thirty-something and a bit overweight, she does not have much of a social life, nor does she want one. However, she is drawn to DCI Harry Nelson, the police inspector who was instrumental in solving the mystery in “The Crossing Places“.

Ruth is an intriguing character. Solitary, smart, and strong, (not to mention a cat owner) Ruth is a protagonist that you’ll want to follow avidly as she becomes almost a friend over the course of the series.
With such a powerful protagonist and themes of missing children, historical exhumations, friendship, and just a smattering of romance, the series exhibits everything I truly enjoy in a mystery series. Griffiths descriptions of the barren and beautiful marshlands set the mood for the books excellently.

The fabulous first novel of the series was the Winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Award 2011 and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year!

In further books in the series we come to know Ruth and follow her through several interesting cases whilst encountering some steep challenges, and the joys and sorrows of her personal life.  It is the excellent balance between her personal life and her work life that makes this series so special.

Elly Griffiths loves doing research and it is evident in her novels.  The perfect blend of forensically interesting and atmospheric mysteries.

Listen to Elly Griffiths talk about her character, Ruth Galloway

Elly Griffiths won the CWA Dagger in the Library award in October 2016.  This award is presented to the author of the most enjoyed collection of work in libraries!

The nine novels featuring Ruth Galloway are: (don’t you agree that they all have stunning covers?)

The author has also written a novella featuring Ruth Galloway.  It can be considered 4.5 in the series coming between “A room full of bones” and “Dying fall“.  It is a Christmas novella called 


Some of my favorite quotes from Elly Griffith’s novels:

An interview with Elly Griffiths

and another interview

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read any of the Ruth Galloway series
or if you plan to.

Elly Griffith’s cat, Gus guarding her novel “Dying Fall”

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Authors, award winners, Favorite books, Mystery fiction, Series order, series to savour and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Series to Savour 7 – Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway mysteries

  1. Pingback: My personal canon (the books that shaped my life) | Fictionophile

  2. Dorothy Gracie says:

    I LOVE this series and I love your blog post! Although I’ve read all of the Ruth Galloway mysteries (and just put my name on the holds list for The Chalk Pit which I didn’t realize the library had ordered until I read your post and checked), I did not know very much about the author and really enjoyed reading your background information about her. I also love the pics and quotes you’ve chosen. I’m so looking forward to reading the latest in this stellar series.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this series! I’m not up to date though 😧 so I really need to read some more soon.


    • Fictionophile says:

      I know. It’s difficult to find the time to keep up with all your favorite series. I feel your pain. Thanks for commenting.


  4. knitnread says:

    The Ruth Galloway books are some of my favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. skyecaitlin says:

    I love this part of your blog! I am not familiar with Elly Griffiths, but I am very interested; the books look fabulous.


    • Fictionophile says:

      They ARE fabulous Skye. I hope you get the opportunity to try them starting with the award-winning “Crossing places”.


      • skyecaitlin says:

        That’s her first in the series! This is very high praise from you; they’re all on my GR’s TBR list, and now I’ll go to Barnes and Nobel and perhaps, place an order for “Crossing Places.’ Thanks, Lynne.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s