Forensic archeologist and college professor Ruth Galloway is having a hard time juggling the demands of her life, and things only get worse once this single mother returns to work after a maternity leave. When a team studying coastal erosion discovers skeletal remains buried under the cliffs near a historical home on Britain's Norfolk Beach, Galloway lends her expertise to the police and DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Harry Nelson. Upon investigation, it appears six people might have been killed in one mass grave. Were the deaths accidental or the result of foul play? When the bones are determined to be roughly seventy years old, the investigation turns toward World War II, a time when the Norfolk coastline was patrolled by the Home Guard, a local group ready and prepared for German invasion. But when Nelson and Galloway and their counterparts begin questioning some of the now elderly old-time guards of Norfolk--and those who knew them during wartime--secrets are suddenly unearthed that may incur deadly consequences.
The House at Sea's End is an engaging, contemporary crime novel. This is the third book in the Ruth Galloway mystery series (The Crossing Places, The Janus Stone), and author Elly Griffiths continues to enrich the main forensic investigation with compelling characters embroiled in personal challenges. The reader learns that Ruth's newborn daughter was secretly fathered (in a previous installment) by DCI Harry Nelson, who is married and not intending to leave his wife. Therefore, the scenes involving Ruth, Nelson, the baby--and Nelson's wife--evoke as much suspense as the crime plot. Once again, Griffiths delivers a smart, well-balanced, atmospheric mystery.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, Hardcover,9780547506142, 384 pp
Publication Date: January 10, 2012