cover image A Dying Fall: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

A Dying Fall: A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Elly Griffiths. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26 (400p) ISBN 978-0-547-79816-5

Old bones and Anglo-Saxon culture combine with fresh murder and contemporary hate groups in Griffiths’s intricately plotted fifth Ruth Galloway mystery (after 2012’s A Room Full of Bones). Ruth, a forensic archeologist and teacher, learns of the death by fire of a college friend and colleague, Dan Golding, the day before receiving a letter from Dan requesting her professional opinion. Dan has excavated the bones of a “Raven King,” who may be Arthur Pendragon. Single mother Ruth, along with her toddler daughter, Kate, and various others, including Kate’s father, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, all take summer holiday trips to the vicinity of the site of the murder and dig, where they encounter a host of suspect fellow academics and locals, including someone who sends Ruth warning text messages. Puzzle solvers may find the clues too subtle, but all will enjoy Ruth’s largely self-aware sardonic perspective on life, death, and relationships. Agent: Emma Thawley, rights director at Quercus (U.K.). (Mar.)