By Katie Neal
The Stone Circle, by Elly Griffiths (DB 95310), is the 11th installment in an intriguing mystery series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway, who lives near the salt marshes on England’s east coast. A professor at the University of Norfolk, Ruth also consults with the local police, and therein lie the plots and romantic entanglements of each book. Readers unacquainted with the series are advised to start at the beginning with The Crossing Places (DB 72473) as relationships and character development progress throughout the books.
In this offering, Ruth once again works with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, the father of her daughter Kate and her long-term love interest. The book’s title refers to the ancient stone circle, or henge, where Ruth is working as an archaeological site and where she discovers a skeleton that is not as old as the site. Nelson links the bones to Margaret Lacey, a young girl who went missing in 1981 after a local street party on the day of Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding. But how did she die and who killed her? The plot thickens when Margaret’s month-old great-niece goes missing, and Nelson wonders if the two disappearances are connected. Ruth and Nelson begin receiving anonymous letters, which seem to link to mysteries of the past but also hint at the present.
Ruth is haunted by similarities to a case she worked on with her late mentor, Erik, whose son Leif unexpectedly appears at the dig site. Leif’s interest in Norse mythology and mysticism accentuates the eerie atmosphere at the henge on the edge of the salt marsh, and his odd behavior arouses suspicion.
Fans of the series may remember that Nelson’s wife, Michelle, is pregnant, and the birth of the baby leads to tension within Nelson’s family and awkwardness in his relationship with Ruth.
Mystery lovers will be entertained by this book, and they’ll also learn a bit about forensic archaeology. And stay tuned for more—Elly Griffiths is continuing the series at the rate of almost one book a year. She has also written a series about a magician in 1950s Brighton, England.