Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate when builders, demolishing a large old house in Norwich to make way for a housing development, uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway - minus the skull. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? DCI Harry Nelson would like to find out - and fast.
©2010 Elly Griffiths (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
This is the only Audible title I have bought but been unable to listen to. The story is told in the 'historic present' - which means 'Ruth gets up and walks across the room; she opens the door and then something else happens...'. Perhaps this would be less noticeable if I were reading it on the page, but hearing it was just unbearably irritating. I think it is made worse by the story (at least the part I listened to) being rather banal - the usual use of the historic present is to build tension in specific contexts, telling the story as if it were happening in 'real time' whereas to have it used for everything including tea with her parents just grates and makes the whole thing seem ridiculous.
This book is dreadful. The characters are two dimensional and the villains straight out of Scooby Doo. The story arc rests on ridiculous and far fetched 'clues' and the denouement of the 'mystery', such as it is, bears down on you with the subtlety of a double decker bus. To add insult to injury the narrator is shockingly bad at accents and I was irritated by the lead detective from Blackpool having a Yorkshire accent. Unfortunately the female protagonist veers wildly from staunch independent feminist to helpless victim. I also couldn't get over a University lecturer in archaeology having nothing more than a rudimentary grasp of Roman gods.
S C Law
History, present and intrigue
I don't know of another author with quite the same characters. I suppose Kathy Reichs but that is only because of the reference to bones.
Yes, I have heard Jane McDowell before and I find her voice easy to listen to with good narration, accents are realistic. I am able to distinguish between the characters and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Yes it was and I almost had it on continuously until I'd finished it
Already have her next book, just pacing myself with another style and author before I start my next marathon read.
I am working my way through this series and I can now see why this book doesn't seem to score quite as well on the review stakes compared to the previous one. Bearing in mind the police are not always keen to investigate current crimes, I did find it rather hard believe that so much effort and resources would be invested in solving the riddle of this child's bones!
However, whilst the plot does wander off the richter scale - I nevertheless found it a compelling listen. It's incredibly well read in a slow even way that goes with the marshland setting. I am still enjoying the rather more unusual relationship between Ruth/Nelson and will certainly go on to listen to the next book. Like the Susan Hill Simon Serrailler stories, whilst these books stand alone, it seems to me it is better to read in the proper order as there are so many personal issues flowering in the background.
The characters were a little flat and the prose just adequate.
Not particularly. I have heard other narrators who would do better.
Another great story from Elly Griffiths.
anyone who knows their North east accents from their North west accents and doesn't consider murder a husky, breathless...help me...female experience.
we've got the accents right!
It really was disconcerting having Harry Nelson speaking with a Hull accent....but referring to his life in Blackpool! please do your research on local accents. I am also a little worried about the future books, the reviews 'slater' the narrator. I feel SO sorry for the author who has researched the novel only for it to be ruined by poor narration.
"Return to Salt Marsh & Mysterious Archeology"
I just love the way Griffiths brought the characters back from book one in the series as old friends. They are people that have been changed by their experiences together in the previous book. Often I find in a series that the main characters are too static as personalities. Not so with this author. Even better, this book continues to develop these interesting, flawed but fascinating people without missing a beat. This installment picks up just months after book one finished. Probably best to start with book one if you are new to the series. The books do build on one another and it is assumed that the reader already knows much detail that is not reviewed. A good thing-- as I dislike a great deal of recap in a series.
The mystery and backstory were as well thought out, engaging and as spooky as they were in book one. It was also funny in spots! I really enjoyed this listen and loved how the whole tale played out. Creepiness, brooding wild sea coast, archeology and history all perfectly intertwine to make a really enjoyable listen. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. Really good and recommended if you enjoy a good mystery.
"My favorite of the series."
I've listened to all of this series but not in order. Now I await each new episode.
It's easy listening, there's always a mystery, Ruth Galloway is a very independent woman, and there are complicated interactions in a rural setting.
The narration is well done.
"I'm a big fan"
Well written, story is excellent, characters realistic. Hoping for many more in the series
Although it was obvious from very early on in the book who the "culprit" was in this book, it was extremely interesting to see how the author brought it to the attention of the characters in the book. She developed it exceptionally well, fitting the responses and thoughts of her characters around it. It is very well written and a joy to read or listen to! I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery.
"plot and character entrancing"
the plot and locale kept my interest. Loved Ruth's character as she came across as real though somewhat flawed. Her relationships are complicated but she always manages to stay true to herself. She continually struggles with the values and ideologies of Catholicism, and "born again Christian" as these enter her relationships with family and friends. I feel like I'm learning something about science but never bored with detail.
So many memorable moements, learning about the sex of her baby, sharing it with Nelson, and the final boat scenes. Though I worried about the blows to her head...not just for her sake but for the unborn baby.
Mostly Jane's voice was appropriate for the characters, except I felt Nelson was harsher than necessary. Sometimes made it uncomfortable to listen seemingly "overdone" as I didn't feel his character really was as coarse as Jane made him out to be.
I could have listened to this at one sitting as the story line was compelling. But I also looked forward to taking a break and think about the plot and especially Ruth Galloway who seemed so genuine. She would make a good and trusting friend mainly because she lacked pretention.
I love Elly Griffiths' writing and intend to read all the books she puts out. So happy to have found her. I love the mixing of religion, archaeology, friendship and suspense.
"Very nice narration, but..."
I found the narration to be exquisite, just like the first book in this series. Unfortunately, this book revolves more around the danger to the main character, Ruth, and not any active crime. I found the struggles between the heroes and villains to be a bit contrived since the point of real conflict was several decades old. Will still get the third book, and the first one is a real gem!
"Now one of my favorite authors!"
Elly Griffiths should be making it to the New York Times best selling list with this series. The characters are engaging, plot twists terrific, and relationship dynamics compelling.
"Read do not listen to this book."
The narrator is just awful. The loud speaking as if in the back ground is beyond annoying and she has absolutely no variation in the characters voices or personalities with exception of the parents who end up sounding like children. Her timing is so off I wonder how in the world she got this job. I read the first book in the series and loved it. I was over joyed to see this in audible. I have never disliked a narrator as much as I do this one. I can't stress enough what a waste of my credit this was. I do listen to audible all the time and this is the first audible book I simply can not finish. I purchased this because other reviews said how good it was. I don't know how it is even remotely possible for anyone to say that unless they love listening to young children with high pitched voices on a play ground.
If nothing else I hope this review will save someone else money or a credit.
Not in audible. Read the book instead.
"I loved this."
In the second novel, you learn more about the characters and their relationships. Since I find this bunch intriguing, that's all to the good. I regret the improbable number of near death experiences the protagonist endures, but I find both the story and the characters so unusual and likeable, that I can overlook that trumpery issue with barely a blink.
"Good book and mystery!"
Great book. Lots of spins and turns. Stayed a mystery til the end! The reader does a nice job with all the voices.
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