cover image The Dark Angel: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

The Dark Angel: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-544-75032-6

Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Griffths’s uneven 10th Ruth Galloway mystery (after 2017’s The Chalk Pit) takes forensic archeologist Ruth and her daughter, Kate, to Castello degli Angeli, a little Italian town, to help colleague Angelo Morelli, who hosts an archeology-based TV show, analyze a Roman-era skeleton. When Ruth finds a hostile message at her lodging, and Angelo tells her he’s received death threats, they assume someone wants to stop their work. The subsequent murder of the kindly local priest in his church raises the stakes. Meanwhile, alarmed by news of an earthquake in the region, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, Ruth’s sometime lover and Kate’s father, flies to Italy, leaving his pregnant wife, Michelle, home in Norfolk, England. Subplots involving Michelle’s affair with another police officer, uncertainty about her baby’s father’s identity, and a newly released criminal determined to seek vengeance converge in a dramatic but contrived finale. Rich details about the Italian countryside, gastronomy, and history make up only in part for the underdeveloped mystery plot. Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit (U.K.). (May)