Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One day I'll get up that hill: THE CHALK PIT.

The Chalk PitThe Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dr. Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate some bones found underground: local architect Quentin Swan is building a large center, and he worries the bones will delay his plans. Ruth fears he is correct, as she quickly realizes the bones are human (and not ancient). Meanwhile, members of DCI Nelson's team are looking into a missing "rough sleeper" (homeless person, in American parlance). Others in the community are saying she went "underground." Is this a figure of speech, or really true? After all, a geologist at Ruth's university says that there is web of chalk mining tunnels beneath King's Lynn. Nelson is also dealing with a new boss, who is putting pressure on him from all sides--from driving more safely (as if) to focusing more on strategy and less hands-on investigation. Can Nelson put aside this new distraction and solve these cases?

It's hard to believe this is the ninth book in Elly Griffiths' fantastic Ruth Galloway series. I'm sure all my reviews are starting to sound somewhat similar by now, but these books are just so wonderful, and I love them so. Ruth is a great character: she's well-written and completely herself, and the cast of characters that surround her in each book (Nelson, his wife, Judy, Cathbad, Clough, Tanya, etc.) are also their own people. Each are so fully developed that you feel as if you know them as intimately as friends. I love Ruth and her antisocial nature, her sarcasm, and her fierce devotion to her daughter, Kate (who can be so different from her mother). I love gruff Nelson. I love all of Nelson's subordinates on the force. They seriously do feel like friends, and while I loved this book, I felt bereft when it ended, because it means I have to wait again for another one (I will be so sad when this series ends).

I have no complaints with book #9. I enjoyed the plot and while it wasn't a total page-turner, it kept me guessing, and I didn't figure out everything ahead of time, which I always appreciate. There are some interesting developments in the whole Ruth/Nelson/Michelle saga and while I wish I could just flash forward to find out everything that happens, I was intrigued by all of them. This little love triangle is a great backstory to the novels, and the tension between Ruth and Nelson is so achingly portrayed in the books: Griffiths is doing a wonderful job of depicting it as Kate ages and new complications emerge with the dynamic.

In the end, as I always say: if you aren't reading this series: you should. It's wonderful, engaging, and I truly think you will fall for Ruth and her world. You don't necessarily need to read these books in order (novel #9 and its plot will stand on its own), but I think starting at the beginning will certainly enrich the experience. Meanwhile, I will be patiently waiting for #10 and secretly dreaming of a world where Ruth and I are the sort of friends where we can eat food together without judgement and occasionally get together without any social pressure.

You can read my reviews of book #8, THE WOMAN IN BLUE, here; book #7, THE GHOST FIELDS, here; and book #6, THE OUTCAST DEAD, here.

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