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A Room Full of Bones: The Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 4

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Griffiths does a great job of making you care for them all, even the secondary characters like Judy, who steps more front and center this time.

Instead, she is racing through the King’s Lynn branch of Somerfield wondering whether chocolate fingers count as bad mothering and how much wine four mothers and assorted partners can be expected to drink. As DI Harry Nelson and his team descend to investigate the death of museum curator Neil Topham, Ruth finds herself in the unenviable position of being the person who found the body (this is starting to become a habit! So based on that, this entry in the wonderful Dr Ruth Galloway series would only rate three stars because the mystery is barely 50% of the story.

Lord Smith's love of the natural world is shown in his magnificent collection of animals and birds, most of which he shot and stuffed himself. It introduces quite a lot of interesting crime/mystery aspects, all seemingly unrelated until Griffiths quite cleverly weaves them together. I've gradually been working my way through this series (this is the 4th) and they have been good so far.

Because it's neither land nor sea, but something in-between, they saw it as a bridge to the afterlife; neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. Ruth is juggling parenthood to Kate (who's about to turn one) whilst being thrust into this latest mystery. Ruth is almost peripheral to much of the action in this installment - as is Nelson, for that matter. An Australian theme and the issue of repatriation of aboriginal bones, a link to serpents and a curse.We're interested in bones, we don't think that's morbid, and we certainly don't have nightmares about it. As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the mystery of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths, and their own survival. In fact, when we weren’t reading about the crime/mystery from one of the Smiths, it was Judy who was investigating. But Phil is away at a conference so it’s Ruth who is to be present at the grand opening of the coffin. Meanwhile, there's a heated stoush brewing over the retention by the Smith family of several Australian Aboriginal skulls, other remains and artifacts, that are currently poorly cared for in the museum's basement.

Meanwhile, charismatic Australian indigenous poet and academic Bob Woonunga has become her new neighbour on the Saltmarsh. The pace eventually picks up in the second half when the owner of a museum and horse racing stable dies, Nelson falls deathly ill, Ruth encounters Max, Judy uncovers a drug ring, and Cathbad does his thing.The book opens tantalisingly with the planned opening of a recently unearthed medieval coffin in a Norfolk museum, although before the festivities can get underway an unexpected modern death occurs! Max, a fellow archaeologist who featured in book two, The Janus Stone, turns back up in Ruth’s life in A Room Full of Bones.

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