Saturday, June 10, 2017

THE CHALK PIT by Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths’ The Chalk Pit is an ensemble production. Many of the characters play major parts, and many have their lives changed. The book ends with a full obituary for Bilbo, a homeless man murdered in the story.

When a car full of drunk teenagers narrowly avoids driving into an opening hole in the highway, they see a strange Jesus-like man. He seems to have come up from the pit.

Norwich DCI Harry Nelson enlists his former lover Ruth Galloway to analyze bones found at the bottom of the pit.

Someone kills two homeless men and kidnaps three women including a homeless woman named Babs. Babs turns out to be a strong, important character.

Why would someone kidnap the women and kill the two men? Would it have anything to do with homeless people living underground in the abandoned mining tunnels beneath Norwich?

Griffiths' whole ensemble cast plays a part. Many have their lives changed. Major things occur to people like Nelson’s wife Michelle, Ruth herself, the major investigators in the story, and others. All have well-developed stories. Harry and Michelle’s story involves a startling irony.

Griffiths introduces an interesting new character, Superintendent Jo Archer. She is different from what she first seems to be.

For me, reading a new Ruth Galloway story is like coming upon another good episode of a favorite TV series. Griffiths’ stories entertain me. I enjoy the characters. And I find the plots interesting.

If you like reading ensemble mystery stories in which many characters play important parts, you should enjoy reading Elly Griffiths’ The Chalk Pit.

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