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Book DetailsISBN: 9781787477810
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Book Review: The Night Hawks: Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 13 by Elly Griffiths - Reviewed by CloggieA (15 Jan 2021)
5 stars The Night Hawks is the thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloway series by award-winning British author, Elly Griffiths. Now Head of Department at the University of North Norfolk, Dr Ruth Galloway is dismayed to find herself spouting the phrases about funding she abhorred when they came from her former boss. Her new hire, archaeologist David Brown, arrogant, smug and irritating, is the target of several.
How he manages to ride along to Blakeney Point when DCI Harry Nelson request-demands her input at the scene of a body washed up (an illegal alien?), she can’t quite understand. The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists who hunt for buried historical artefacts at night (nuisances, in Ruth’s opinion), stumbled over the body near a find of coins and weapons.
David Brown is excited by the likelihood that it’s Bronze Age, and the skeletal remains could be one of the European Beaker People whose virus, he theorises, wiped out Neolithic Britons. He envisages facial reconstructions and museum displays; Ruth fears for her departmental budget.
The next night, one of the Night Hawks alerts Police to a shooting at Black Dog Farm that looks like a murder-suicide: Cambridge researcher Dr Douglas Noakes and his wife Linda. Mention of a body in the suicide note has Ruth and her team digging up the garden, at which David Brown once again appears.
Certain anomalies see Nelson unconvinced that the scene was not staged, and the team are soon looking deeper into the family and associates, as well as the metal detectorists who seem to be on the spot. Diligent investigation by the team gradually reveals noteworthy connections and pertinent facts, but the list of suspects and possible motives seems to expand. And all the while, to the annoyance of his Super, Nelson inserts himself in the action when she feels he should be seriously considering retirement.
“Nelson thinks about retirement for about eight seconds and then dismisses the idea. The force needs his experience and know-how. There are some things you can only learn from years of actually doing the job.”
Meanwhile, the washed-up body is identified as a local; then a young policeman dies unexpectedly, and enquiries lead Nelson’s team to a Cambridge research lab: could there be something illegal going on? In the background to it all is the Norfolk legend of the Black Shuck, a harbinger of evil whose manifestation is making fleeting appearances, unnerving many.
Another murder, a shooting and a hostage taking are all part of the dramatic climax. Once again, Griffiths keeps the reader guessing right up to the final chapters with red herrings and misdirections, and, as always in these stories, she demonstrates how the solving of a crime depends very much on a team effort. In this instalment, the usually unspoken relationship between Ruth and Nelson gets more of an airing, and Cathbad plays a significant role. Clever, exciting and informative: more of Ruth, Nelson and co will be most welcome. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Quercus/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers
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