cover image The Chalk Pit: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

The Chalk Pit: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-544-75031-9

The discovery of a cannibalized skeleton in a Norfolk underground tunnel catapults forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway into her engrossing ninth case (after 2016’s The Woman in Blue). When a homeless man reports a missing woman and then is stabbed to death, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson and his team join the investigation, which takes on added urgency when Det. Sgt. David Clough’s significant other, who’s the mother of his baby, disappears. Ruth’s Druid friend, Cathbad, plays a prominent role, and series fans will find humor in Nelson’s struggles with an ambitious female commanding officer. On the personal side, Ruth struggles with her love for the married Nelson, who’s her daughter’s father and whose wife, Michelle, makes a surprise revelation with far-reaching implications for the uneasy triangle. Despite grisly deaths, Griffiths maintains a gentle tone, and her portrayal of issues surrounding homelessness is compassionate and nuanced. A hopeful ending might seem facile to some readers and comforting to others. [em]Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit. (May) [/em]