Despite it feeling like a Friday it’s only Thursday but that means I was able to sneak this in before the end of the month. I’ll still have a few mini reviews coming later today, but figured I’d get this one done first!
Thanks to Mariner Books for the free early copy in exchange for my honest review.
THE LOCKED ROOM – Elly Griffiths (Released June 28th, 2022)
The fourteenth novel in the acclaimed and bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries. Ruth and Nelson are on the hunt for a murderer when Covid-19 rears its ugly head. But can they find the killer despite lockdown?
Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? As she died three years ago, Ruth can’t exactly ask her, and her father denies all knowledge of the picture. The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1969.
Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid-19 rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and lessons, but, in reality, becoming lonely and frustrated. Happily the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Sally, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorstep clapping for carers.
Nelson, meanwhile, has no time to be bored. He’s investigating a series of suicides that could be the work of a serial killer. It’s only when he links them to an archaeological discovery that he thinks of Ruth. He breaks curfew to visit the cottage to find Ruth chatting to her neighbour, whom he remembers as Dawn Lancaster, a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer. When the deaths continue, Nelson vows to take Ruth and Kate to live with him. But they, and Dawn, have vanished.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
I will say that I’ve become bored of the stories releasing that have to do with either COVID directly or some kind of pandemic lately. I understand why there are so many within the last couple years as it’s very relevant to what’s happening in the world, but it get repetitive. That being said, I really enjoyed THE LOCKED ROOM by Elly Griffiths. Her story does take place during COVID and the initial lockdown but I think the murder mystery took center stage and I couldn’t stop flying through the chapters. I had no idea this was book fourteen in this series, so you can definitely read this as a standalone without issue!
Dr. Ruth Galloway is the head of the archaeology department at the University at Norfolk and with the new lockdown going into effect, she and her daughter, Kate, must now navigate her work as well as home schooling. Meanwhile, Kate’s father, DCI Harry Nelson, is head of a Serious Crimes Unit and is trying to investigate an apparent suicide that begins to have questionable circumstances surrounding it. When more middle-aged women are also found dead from apparent suicides he can’t help but wonder if this is just coincidence due to lockdown or if there is something more sinister at play. Then we also have a new neighbor to Ruth and Kate that isn’t quite what she seems.
I loved all the elements to this mystery. It may seem like a lot is going on but I was engaged from start to finish and I think Griffiths perfect wove them together without it getting confusing. I also appreciate how the author filled in a little bit of backstory as the book progressed for those of us that are new to the series, because let’s face it, most of the time I pick up a great sounding crime fiction or mystery novel and I’m completely oblivious to the fact that it’s part of a series (I can’t be the only one!). I highly recommend picking this up and I appreciate how well she handled the COVID pandemic in the story and that it wasn’t the sole focus. I think it’s time to keep an eye out for more of this series when I’m at the bookstore.
I can whole-heartedly recommend reading the whole series! The characters have grown and evolved so much they are like family 🙂
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