The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths is the 14th Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery book, and I’m going to say it: it’s my favorite of the whole series.
Dr. Ruth Galloway
In writing this post, I realized I’ve made a grave mistake.
I’ve never mentioned the Dr. Ruth Galloway novels on this blog before. I apologize profusely, folks. Dr. Ruth Galloway is the series that got me out of my pandemic reading funk.
Dr. Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist in Norfolk on the coast in the UK. She is inadvertently drawn into investigations when she is called in to examine any bones discovered in the course of police investigations.
This series has it all, dear readers. Mystery, crime, character development, rich, complex, and delicious tension, and a diverse cast of characters. What I love most about it is the way the mystery is layered in with the challenges the characters face. And the characters come from all walks of life. It’s a vibrant, realistic cast that makes me question things every time I encounter them.
Now onto it’s latest installment…
The Locked Room
The Locked Room takes place during the start of the pandemic lockdown in the UK. Ruth discovers a photo of her own cottage in her deceased mother’s things, and Nelson is investigating a string of suicides that may not be suicides after all.
Internal vs. External Conflict
I mentioned above how Griffiths is a master at layering the internal conflicts of the main characters in this series with the external challenges they face as it differs from book to book. Griffiths takes this nuance to an entirely new level in this mystery book.
The characters are facing the isolation of lockdown at the same time they are investigating a string of suicides that may be murders, a feat only accomplished by the murderer isolating the victims enough to get them to do as he wishes.
The reason this layering is so brilliant is because the distinction is so incredibly subtle. Yet Griffiths not only manages to convey this theme, she does it in a natural and fast paced way leaving me with my favorite Ruth Galloway mystery.
Things are Heating Up
With 14 books in the series, you might guess that this is a slow burn, but things are starting to heat up in this one. If you haven’t read the Ruth Galloway books, I definitely recommend picking them up if you like what I have termed women’s fiction cozy mystery with a little more edge.
The elements of this kind of mystery book are as follows:
- Picturesque setting (the coast of Norfolk in the UK)
- Gruesome and sometimes troubling crimes but they’re not on the page. Thank you, Elly!
- Nothing happens to the dog although there is one incident with a cat in an early book.
- The series examines some deep issues women face in modern society, which adds to the complexity and richness of the series.
Griffiths kept a journal during the early days of lockdown, and it’s reflected in the story. Some things I had completely forgotten, and while I didn’t wish to revisit them, they really added a presence to the story.
I pre-ordered the ebook of The Locked Room ages ago, but the book actually dropped in the UK last month. Well, I couldn’t wait for my US ebook so I ordered the hardcover through Book Depository, and I have zero regrets. That should tell you how I feel about this book and this series.