Skip to main content
PBS logo

Search - A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4)

A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4)
A Room Full of Bones - Ruth Galloway, Bk 4
Author: Elly Griffiths
When Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop, she finds the museum’s curator lying dead on the floor. Soon after, the museum’s wealthy owner is also found dead, in his stables. — These two deaths could be from natural causes, but once again Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson cross pa...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780544001121
ISBN-10: 0544001125
Publication Date: 5/14/2013
Pages: 352
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.

4.4 stars, based on 23 ratings
Publisher: Mariner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 3
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

cathyskye avatar reviewed A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4) on + 2260 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
First Line: The coffin is definitely a health and safety hazard.

The coffin in question belongs to a medieval bishop named Augustine who is dug up when the site of his burial is scheduled to be turned into a huge grocery store. Despite all the warnings Augustine gave about leaving his remains alone, a small "unveiling" is scheduled in the Smith Museum, presently owned by one of Augustine's descendants. Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway has been asked to preside over the opening of the coffin, but when she shows up at the museum a little early, she finds the curator dead on the floor by the bishop's remains.

Ruth's daughter Kate has just turned one, and Ruth feels as though she's slowly getting the hang of being a mother, even if Kate lets her get very little sleep. She'd like to be more interested in the curator's death, but the coroner labels it natural causes, and Ruth moves on to the next items in her busy agenda.

Bishop Augustine's unveiling is done very quietly, which is a good thing because something totally unexpected occurs. Augustine's descendant, Lord Smith, shows Ruth a room full of Aboriginal bones another ancestor harvested and brought back to England from Australia. A group called the Elginists is demanding that the bones be repatriated to their homeland, but Lord Smith views them as his rightful possessions and refuses. Shortly thereafter Lord Smith dies-- also of natural causes?-- and Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson is brought in to investigate.

Having been searching for drug smugglers, Nelson isn't convinced that these deaths are natural, especially when threatening letters to both victims turn up, but when he's hospitalized with a mysterious and deadly fever, his team have to take up the slack and try to find out how a medieval bishop, Aboriginal bones and drug smuggling all tie in together.

Although part of a series, this book can easily be read as a standalone because Griffiths fills in many details from the previous books (sometimes to the detriment of earlier plot points). The story here is a good one, with several elements that I didn't deduce before the author showed me how they fit together.

If you're the type of reader who demands that favorite characters remain front and center in each book of a series, you're going to be a bit disappointed in this one. Although there is much about Ruth and Harry's ever-evolving relationship, they are often at the periphery of the investigation. Although I did miss them, this allows Griffiths to let her secondary characters stretch their wings a bit and provide many exciting scenes.

Two things really excited me about this book. One was the plot. I love stories with strong elements of superstition and legend in them that can be explained by something concrete and almost commonplace. Not only does it give my brain a workout, this sort of plot does the same for the characters in showing how they react to it and investigate it. Griffiths' plot moved like a well-oiled machine, and I found myself reading faster and faster in an attempt to gather it all in and find a solution before the characters did.

The second thing that excited me was Griffiths' cast of characters. The cast is growing and developing strong new faces, which bodes well for the future of the series. The relationship between Ruth and Harry with its awkwardness and misunderstandings, the way Ruth is adapting to motherhood and the appearance of another man in her life, the way Harry and his wife are trying to hold things together... all these elements are constantly evolving as they would in the real world. In this book I was reminded time and again of my favorite "relationship" series written by Deborah Crombie. To have this series join the ranks of those in which the characters attain such a level of verisimilitude is very exciting stuff indeed.
maura853 avatar reviewed A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4) on + 542 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Again, it's good-enough as a light, cosy read (think Midsummer Murders or Vera, and there's nothing wrong with those ...) that relies too much on characters who are little more than bundles of quirks and accessories. (Fat-but-smart heroine, grumpy-but-heart-of-gold police detective, supporting cast with a range of character labels and distracting issues ...)

I keep hoping that this series will get better, because I want to like the premise -- crime-solving forensic archaeologist -- so much. But in this, #4 in the series, there's little-to-no crime-solving by Dr. Ruth, and the "mystery" (such as it is, and I hope this isn't too great a spoiler) pretty well solves itself, as the main detecting characters navel-gaze and layer on the charming quirks and issues with each other.
Read All 5 Book Reviews of "A Room Full of Bones Ruth Galloway Bk 4"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

sgmensing avatar reviewed A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4) on + 24 more book reviews
This fourth in the series featuring Ruth Galloway and the Norfolk coast felt like meeting up with an old friend. In this book, Ruth's relationships with folks involved in the crime rather than her direct involvement in solving it take center stage. The roomful of bones from the title has to do with Aboriginal bones being kept in England, and the mystery centers around efforts to repatriate them. At the beginning of the book, I found the present tense in which Griffiths writes to be annoying and it separated me from the story, but as I became more involved in the plot, it faded into the background and I didn't notice it. Griffiths writes about the mysticism very well, and in the end leaves just enough to the imagination. As always, I am looking forward to her next book in the series.
justreadingabook avatar reviewed A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, Bk 4) on + 1710 more book reviews
Have been loving this series. So interesting and thought provoking as the story unfolds.