A number of years ago, an elderly cousin sent me the first book in the Ruth Galloway series, noting that it was about England and archaeology and beautifully written. It languished on my shelf until this fall when I picked it up and am now on books 12 and 13 in the series. The series revolve around Dr. Ruth Galloway (use her title please, she’s earned it), a forensic archaeologist specializing in bones and the bronze age, who on occasion is called in to help the local police when they find remains in Norfolk. I note its for fans of Time Team despite the books themselves being a little disparaging about the show, because having watched the tv shows I can picture and understand the digs described much more easily. Throughout the books, Ruth has become involved with DCI Nelson and various other local police and characters that reappear in various books.
The Lantern Men and Night Hawks both revolve around murders that take place in Norfolk, and reference local folklore. In the case of Lantern Men, the idea of a man with a lantern who leads people astray in the fens to their deaths while the Night Hawks brings in the legend of a giant black dog seen prior to death. Both books are enjoyable, quick reads with a lot of rural Norfolk atmosphere. The who done it aspect keeps you guessing, but since these are books 12 and 13 in a series, I won’t say very much about the plots so as not to spoil these or books 1-10.
As the series has followed Ruth and her friends for 10 plus years, they have grown and changed throughout. Ruth herself is a very relatable, believable protagonist. She’s confident in her professional abilities and her life choices, less confident in her appearance as an overweight, middle aged woman. Oddly enough, the part that I find least believable is her personal relationship with DCI Nelson. However, I still will keep reading each book to see what happens to Ruth, Nelson, as well as Cathbad the Druid and his partner DI Judy, Kate, and, of course, her cat Flint.