26 March 2015
Rural Norfolk, with its wide open spaces, big skies and flat landscape was the ideal place during the Second World War for the installation of huge air bases. Over seventy years later, desolate reminders of the abandoned air fields remain, their ghostly presence, tower across the countryside and shattered remnants of what went on there now lays buried beneath the surface of memories. In The Ghost Fields, Elly Griffiths, lays bare the ghosts of the past and gives forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson a complicated story line which focuses on the Blackstocks, a local Norfolk family, whose hidden secrets are about to be exposed.
This is now book number seven in the Ruth Galloway crime series, and as always, we are treated to a lively story, which focuses on the police procedural element of solving a complicated murder mystery, but which also allows us a tantalising glimpse into the lives of those long standing characters we have come to know and love. Ruth still juggles her professional time alongside her love and care for her four year old daughter, Kate. Harry continues to worry about all the ladies in his life, although in this book, Harry and Michelle face some soul searching of their own. And the backup crew of Cathbad, Judy, Cloughie and Tim, all have their own stories to tell, which adds an interesting dimension to the story
As always, the book grips from the beginning. There is crime and history, both of which sit comfortably side by side. The mystery at the heart of the story is handled well; there are lots of twists and turns in the plot and some genuinely tense moments which keep you turning the pages. It’s a good observational story; the author gets into the mindset of her characters very well and makes you genuinely care about what happens to them. As always, wild, beautiful and uncontrollable Norfolk is at the epicentre of the novel, sharing its past and exposing the vulnerability of its hidden secrets.
Whilst The Ghost Fields can be read as a standalone crime mystery, it is helpful to have read the series from the beginning, that way you pick up the finer nuances in the relationships between the major characters,all of which Elly Griffiths does so very well.
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My thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for my review copy of this book.