(Image from Barnes & Noble)
(Note: While this review will not contain spoilers for The House at Sea's End, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from previous Ruth Galloway mysteries. As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)
Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway loves a good puzzle. And there's nothing more baffling than figuring out how to balance a career and a baby. At four months old, Kate demands most of her mother's time, not to mention the majority of her energy. Still, 40-year-old Ruth is committed to her job, which lately has required a bit of consulting with the local police department. Considering the head of the force is DCI Harry Nelson, Kate's married father, these meet-ups can get a tad awkward for Ruth. Especially since Harry wants to be involved in the baby's life, despite the fact that no one (including his wife) knows he's her father. The situation is too complicated to mess with, especially when there are cases that require the duo's attention.
When a group of archaeologists finds human skeletons under a cliff on a remote patch of Norfolk beach, both Harry and Ruth are called in to investigate. The remains appear to belong to six German soldiers, deployed to England during WWII. With bullet holes in their skulls, it looks as though the men were murdered. The big question is: why? And by whom? As Harry and Ruth look into the very cold case, several deaths occur that cannot be coincidental. Someone is keeping a dark secret, someone knows how the German soldiers really died, and that someone will kill to protect their secret. Can Harry and Ruth figure out the truth before it's too late? Or will someone stop the pair from digging into the past, possibly forever?
The House at Sea's End, the third installment in Elly Griffiths' enjoyable Ruth Galloway series, offers another intriguing mystery. While the main plot twists and turns, things heat up for Ruth at home, giving readers a little relationship and domestic drama. Our heroine handles everything with her usual pragmatism, peppered with a dry wit that makes her a particularly appealing narrator. She's an understated character, a smart, successful nerd who's just as authentic as they come. Harry, who's both sincere and befuddled, likewise comes off as incredibly real. I love this duo because they're unique, yet familiar. Their antics kept me as engaged by The House at Sea's End as I have been by the other books in this series. It's quickly becoming one of my very favorites.
(Readalikes: Reminds me of other books in the Ruth Galloway series [The Crossing Places; The Janus Stone; A Room Full of Bones; A Dying Fall; The Outcast Dead; and The Ghost Fields]; also a little of Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for language (no F-bombs), violence, and mild sexual content
To the FTC, with love: Another library