Ruth Galloway is trying to balance her life enjoying her career and perplexed by single motherhood. She is drawn towards the mystery of a medieval bishop and the struggle for the repatriation of aboriginal bones to their homeland. This coupled with two mysterious deaths leads to her reluctant teaming with DCI Nelson to solve puzzles that seem to be mixed up in each other.
This is the first “Ruth Galloway” book I read though it’s fourth in the series. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist and a single mother. The book starts with the opening ceremony of a medieval bishop’s coffin, ancestor to the Smith family, owner of the museum. But things take nasty turn when Ruth finds the body of the museum’s curator lying near the coffin. Police investigation is led by DCI Harry Nelson, with whom Ruth shares an awkward relationship. The investigation soon turns serious as death strikes again in a mysterious way. The rumour that those who open the bishop’s coffin will be cursed soon takes hold and a series of threatening letters addressed to the dead curator, when found by Police add to the mystery. An on going police investigation in a drug case also gets mixed up in this case and the mystery deepens.
I thought that the book will be a grim read considering Ruth’s profession. I expected detailed descriptions of human anatomy but A Room Full of Bones was a surprisingly easy read. There are multiple whodunits entangled in each other. I actually found the main case easy to solve but it did not take away the pleasure of reading.
Ruth as a protagonist is an affable character. Nearing forty and actually fat (13 stones to be precise) she is warm and friendly, juggling her career and motherhood. Ruth’s quandary towards her restrained relationship with Nelson and blossoming relation with Max is well penned. Ruth has taken a backseat in the actual investigation and the supporting characters lead the solving of the case. Ruth has an odd group of friend and acquaintances varying from an eccentric Druid to an enigmatic Australian poet and academic with aboriginal roots. All the supporting characters are fully developed and add to the pleasure of reading. There are quite a few references to their past and I think that it will be worth reading the previous books (Though I fear sometimes Griffiths has given away too much).
The struggle for repatriation of Australian aboriginal bones to their motherland for proper burial is a key theme of the story and Griffiths has described this topic quite well. Now that I have started with the series, it certainly will be on the top of my TBR list.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time.
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