FORENSIC archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and her cohort were never intended to go on sleuthing beyond case number 10 so the appearance of an 11th novel in the murder-mystery series is a bonus for fans of Elly Griffiths’ books.
Now, in the new instalment of this long-running police drama, Ruth finds herself at the centre of another possible crime when two female skeletons – dated several millennia apart – are exhumed from a Neolithic circle near King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The area is best known as the seat of the British royal family’s country estate, Sandringham, yet death is all too common in this pretty stretch of seaside villages and softly undulating farms.
The first young woman is found to have been buried inside a stone cist in keeping with Bronze Age tradition.
The second set of bones, however, is much more recent, leading Detective Inspector Harry Nelson and his team in King’s Lynn to believe it might be the remains of Margaret Lacey, a local girl who went missing as a 12-year-old on the evening of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding in 1981.
Various suspects were interviewed at the time of her disappearance, including Margaret’s father and brother and a highly eccentric neighbourhood loner, yet no trace of the well-liked young student has ever surfaced.
But how could this modern-day corpse, regardless of its origin, have become intertwined with a sacred site laid out thousands of years before the birth of Christ?
Disentangling the details around the twin burials’ discovery will take every trick in Harry’s professional book and every ounce of concentration, not least of all as his wife of 20-odd years is due to give birth any day to a child that might not be his, and Ruth’s daughter Kate – who definitely is his biological daughter – is growing up fast.