Elly Griffiths’ Dr. Ruth Galloway Faces ‘The Locked Room’ Mystery in Pandemic Era Norfolk [REVIEW]

Augustine Steward House in Norwich, UK
The Augustine Steward House is only one landmark readers will visit in Elly Griffiths’ The Locked Room. (Photo courtesy Canva)

As an archaeologist and educator, Dr. Ruth Galloway has enough to contend with. As she juggles cantankerous colleagues, peculiar students, and the daunting task of sorting through her deceased mother’s belongings, she doesn’t need a pandemic to complicate life any further.

When it seems like lockdown will keep her and DCI Harry Nelson apart, a baffling rash of seemingly unrelated suicides throws them together once again. But how can they crack the case when the world they know is turned topsy turvy and it is ill advised to leave the house? Find out in Elly Griffiths’ brilliant new mystery, The Locked Room.

Elly Griffiths' THE LOCKED ROOM
Mariner Books

While going through her mum’s things, she discovers a picture that was taken of her cottage in 1963, which was long before Ruth bought it and even preceded her own birth. It strikes her as particularly curious since her mother had never seemed to like her cottage to begin with and never understood why she wanted to live on the salt marsh of Norfolk.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 is just beginning to make the news, and as she tries to make heads or tails of it and how it will affect her life, she meets the friendly new neighbor who moves into the cottage next door just before everyone is told to shelter in place. Thankfully, they seem to hit it off fairly quickly, which is something new for Ruth.

At the police station, Nelson and his team look into the deaths of several women who seemed to take their own lives. But how are these women connected? When he discovers that the link may be the mythic plague pits in Tombland, he breaks pandemic protocol and pays a visit to Ruth, hoping she can shed some light on the subject. As they draw closer to the truth, even more people disappear. But are they vanishing because of the pandemic or is something more sinister afoot?

The Locked Room may be Griffiths’ fourteenth Ruth Galloway mystery, but this series only gets better with time. From the first page to the last, she reminds us why this series is so beloved. Her characters are vibrant, complex, self-aware and authentic, and we can’t help but cheer them on both personally and professionally. Each of them has something they’re struggling with, from Ruth’s complicated relationship with her mother to Nelson’s attempt to juggle the women in his life. As such, readers will be hard pressed to put this book down.

There is much to admire here, including just how complicated this mystery is. Just as we tug at one thread of the story, we get tangled in another as victims, motives, and suspects pile up. Even the pandemic itself adds a palpable layer of suspense to the tale. By the time we reach the climax, Griffiths has effectively ensnared us in her web, and we are delighted to be there, waiting with bated breath for the shocking finale. If you’ve been looking for a well spun yarn that is both relevant and entertaining, you can’t go wrong with Elly Griffiths’ The Locked Room.

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Elly Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton mystery series, as well as the standalone novels The Stranger Diaries, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and The Postscript Murders.

She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England.

To learn more, visit EllyGriffiths.co.uk, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

By Elly Griffiths
384 pp. Mariner Books. $27.99

Purchase The Locked Room direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Half Price Books | Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound | Powell’s | Target | Walmart.

Elly Griffiths
Elly Griffiths
(Photo by Sara Reeve)

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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