cover image The Outcast Dead: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

The Outcast Dead: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-0-547-79277-4

In Mary Higgins Clark Award–winner Griffiths’s competent sixth mystery featuring archeologist Ruth Galloway (after 2013’s A Dying Fall), Mark Gates, a TV researcher for a British documentary series called Women Who Kill, takes an interest in Ruth after she uncovers the bones of the notorious Mother Hook, a Victorian-era child minder accused of killing at least 20 children in Norwich. Despite the damning folktales, Ruth suspects that Mother Hook was innocent—a belief that clashes with Mark’s vision of a monstrous child murderer. As Ruth seeks clues lost long ago, her former lover, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, is closing in on a 37-year-old woman who may have killed her three infants. Meanwhile, the self-described “Childminder” begins kidnapping young children from their homes. Griffiths astutely plays on modern anxieties about working parents and childcare. A clever ending compensates for the frequent narrative-slowing switches between Harry’s and Ruth’s cases. (Mar.)