cover image The Locked Room: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

The Locked Room: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths. Mariner, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-358-67139-8

The Covid pandemic provides the backdrop for Edgar winner Griffiths’s meandering 14th mystery featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway (after 2021’s The Night Hawks), set during the first few months of 2020. Ruth is asked to examine a skeleton found at the site of a medieval cemetery near Norwich Cathedral. Meanwhile, her on-again, off-again lover, Norfolk Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, is looking into the death of a part-time librarian. All signs point to the middle-aged woman’s suicide, but Nelson isn’t convinced of this, “because who puts a Weight Watchers’ chicken and lemon risotto in the microwave if they’re planning to kill themselves”? His investigation turns up the names of other local women—all seemingly happy churchgoers—who have recently died by suicide. Ruth eventually joins Nelson in the search for a connecting thread between the victims, which touches on such personal matters as relationship breakups, rapprochements, family reunions, loved ones in hospital with Covid, lonely lockdowns, and Zoom meetings. A surfeit of detail about the impact of the pandemic slows the crime solving. Established fans will best appreciate this one. Agent: Kirby Kim, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (June)