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Summary

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway discovers the bones aren't as old as originally thought, it's time for DCI Nelson to launch a murder inquiry. What was initially just a medieval curiosity has taken a much more sinister nature....

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she's gone 'underground'. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the stories both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast community of rough sleepers living in the old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history - but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart - before it claims another victim.

©2017 Elly Griffiths (P)2017 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"My favourite current crime series... a pleasure from start to finish." (Val McDermid)

What listeners say about The Chalk Pit

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another cracker from the world of North Norfolk

In the last Ruth Galloway book I felt the series was moving from archaeology centred to more of a crime novel, and The Chalk Pit seems to bear this out. I really enjoyed it, as it combines an interesting (if far fetched in places) novel with a real development of the differing characters. I know there are tunnels under many ancient cities, not to mention underground railways, but underground societies? Certainly gets the imagination going... Not to mention making me feel ashamed of the way I've often ignored rough sleepers and not considered their world.

The whole Nelson / Michelle / Ruth triangle gets more convoluted - no spoilers - and has the potential for a real car crash of a scenario in the next book. Giving Nelson a female boss certainly adds a twist, and the women are to the fore with Judy very much taking the lead. Poor Tania is unlikely to match her for years, if ever. Dave, well he's Dave, unreconstructed carnivore caveman, but you have to love him, well I do anyway. Cathbad seems to have settled for a househusband role but I hope we get to see more of the passionate Druid in later books.

Ruth has a lot to cope with emotionally, some good, some hard, so she's agonising less about her weight this time around - but some aspects of her behaviour don't change. She still manages to totally ignore a blatant clue when Kate hits her over the head with it in the middle of the night.

I know some people regretted the change (back) of narrators, but not me. Jane McDowell has done a great job from the 1st Ruth Galloway book, and I find all her characters believable, especially her version of Harry.

Overall? A cracker. This series is far from running out of steam, and I hope it continues.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

One of my favourite series

I was much looking forward to a new Ruth Galloway tale and this one didn't disappointment. The tale was a tiny bit far fetched and the ending straggled on a bit but but this was still a highly enjoyable listen. Brought to life as always remarkably well by Jane McDowell our favourite characters are all there with Judy playing a significant role in this investigation. I do hope that Elly Griffiths continues with this series and the endlessly intriguing relationship between Ruth and Nelson. I am fascinated that the author can have created such a splendid series as this and missed the mark so soundly with the Stephens and Mephisto books which I have found terribly disappointing.

21 people found this helpful

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Looking forward to the next part in the series

Over the last few weeks I’ve romped through all nine of the Ruth Galloway novels and hope that the series will continue. Though ostensibly crime novels this is not the main appeal for me. It’s the interesting facts about forensic archaeology combined with believable characters. Most of the main ones are in all the novels. I’ve enjoyed following their lives over time and recommend listening in chronological order, not least, so that surprises are not spoiled and the outcomes of previous investigations revealed. Like most detective novels the crimes are contrived and complicated but the author has set these in a variety of interesting archeological settings. Ruth certainly has a more action-packed life than most University academics!

Some reviewers have felt that the narrator of the first three books is better than the later narrator, but I think both are excellent and give consistently recognisable voices to the characters that brings the dialogue to life.

6 people found this helpful

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Another great story

This is the first elly Griffiths novel I have listened to, I have read all the others in the Ruth Galloway series, but enjoyed this very much. The story was interesting and it had the background stories of the characters ticking along and intertwining with the plot. Jane McDowell narrated it well, I will look out for others by her and would recommend this book and the others in series, either as audio or traditional form.

6 people found this helpful

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Well worth the wait.

Waited eagerly for this volume and it didn't disappoint. Ruth,Nelson,Clough and other familiar characters continue to develop and are 3 dimensional. An interesting newcomer, in the shape of Nelson ' s new boss also promises to be more than the cardboard cutout, fast track, eye on the prize, ballsy female in a "man's" world, than she first appears - at least I hope so. Can't wait to see what develops next in the Nelson household as they may find themselves welcoming more new additions to the family than they bargained for. The intriguing Cathbad took more of a back seat this time round - let's hope his mystical powers are being re - charged and we'll see more of him on the next outing. I hope it's not too long before I'm back in Norfolk with Ruth and the gang.

13 people found this helpful

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Slow burner but...

This is my first Dr Ruth Galloway book & I wish I'd have listened in order as then I would have been aware of what must be the recurring established characters back stories. This was a slow burner but it kept my attention throughout. It's not a fast paced thriller but I enjoyed the mystery & it was different to the usual crime thrillers. The narration by Jane McDowell was good & she tackled the different accents & even the male characters well. I will certainly listen to others on the series.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Another enjoyable Ruth Galloway story

Always enjoy these stories. Struggled with the narrator though as she kept clearing her mouth!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good story

Ellis Griffiths weaves an interesting story around the well loved characters as well as new topics.
In depth writing about the homeless giving them compassion and humanity.
How could she leave us on the ending cliffhanger.
How are we going to wait for the next book!!!!!!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

reasonable story ruined by narration

whispered sexy tones of perfect rada enunciation for a crime thriller? Completely spoilt the effect

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Undecided.

I think it was the narrator who made this book a challenge. She has a beautiful voice but it was just wrong for what is clearly supposed to be an edgy thriller. There were bits that were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, yet they were delivered without a hint of irony. It's apparent the narrator can tackle various accents well but the general narration was so plummy it did not suit the text at all.
The story itself was engaging but a little too tame for the subject in my opinion. The constant references to religion, whether relevant or not, made the experience rather comedic for me... which was probably not the author's intention ... but I did roll my eyes and snigger far more than I ought to.
Despite all my negative comments I did enjoy the story ... it just felt that it was lacking something so 3 *.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-06-17

Loved it

Once again she done it! And I love the narrator! So great to hear all the dialects out loud. Can't wait for the next book! 😄

1 person found this helpful