Elly Griffiths – The Woman in Blue (2016)
Quercus, Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication: 4th February 2016
The Woman in Blue is the 8th in the Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths.
The medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions so Ruth’s friend Cathbad takes it in his stride when he sees a vision of a woman in a white gown and blue cloak in the graveyard next to the cottage he is house-sitting. Walsingham has strong connections to the Virgin Mary and Cathbad as a druid feels that visions come with the job. But it becomes clear that Cathbad’s vision was all too human when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch. DCI Nelson and his team are called in for the murder investigation and they quickly establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital.
Ruth has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk but an old university asks to meet her in the village and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters that contain references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest.
As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…
Personally, I am a big fan of the Ruth Galloway novels but should warn you that this is best enjoyed if you are following the series through in order but I still do think you can pick up most of the background needed to enjoy the novel as you go along.
Why am I a fan – well here there is the usual excellent characterisation that one expects in Elly Griffiths’ books that gives you believable albeit flawed but ultimately likeable ongoing main protagonists (Ruth Galloway, Harry Nelson & Cathbad especially in this one) along with a sufficiently twisty plot to keep you engaged and a well-researched backdrop to hang the story on.
If you have a liking for modern cozies with a hint of grit than I would strongly recommend this to you.