This review was originally posted on amazon on March 9, 2013:
I want Nelson to leave Michelle for Ruth.
So, with that uncharitable thought, I'll begin.
The fifith installment in Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series takes Ruth out of the Saltmarsh, and sends her to a place called Pendle. One of her old University friends has died in a fire after making what seems to be a fairly major archeoogical discovery and Ruth becomes suspicious that the fire was not an accident.
This book gets started a little bit more slowly than the other books. However, there is good stuff in here - the possible discovery of the bones of King Arthur, white supremacists, a secretive druid that is not Cathbad, and a detective counterpoint to Nelson. As always, Ruth's relationships are in turmoil. Max barely merits a mention, and the interactions between Nelson and Ruth are bittersweet and tinged with tension.
By this point, I am accustomed to the third person present tense narrative, so it is less distracting than in the first couple books. I still don't really like it, but I understand why the author would use it to try to build suspense. And this book does have suspense.
Finally, I love kids, and I have kids, but these books run the risk of falling into the "way too cute and precocious toddler" trap. It's hard to write motherhood and children well, without it ending up annoying or twee. So far, Griffith's hasn't crossed the line. But there were a few times that she came close (Kate building a sand henge with Cathbad? Let the child build a pile of sand and call it a castle like the other kids).
Overall, this is one of my favorite current mystery series. I had pre-ordered this one, and began it pretty much immediately upon release. It didn't disappoint.