Title: The Dark Angel
Author: Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Quercus Books
Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!
So Ruth travels to Fontana Liri, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a medieval shrine and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also finds Harry Nelson, who is enduring a terrible holiday at a resort nearby. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Fontana Liri that someone would kill to protect.
The Ruth Galloway series is like returning to an old friend. I’m always excited for a new release and I know it’s going to be a great read. The Dark Angel reinforced this feeling!
I love the combination of archaeology and crime that runs at the core of this series, and The Dark Angel is no different. What is different, however, is that this book is not set mainly in Norfolk, as many of the previous novels are, but instead a lot of the narrative takes Ruth (and Kate) away to Italy! Though I love reading about Norfolk locations (some real, some made up) it’s actually quite refreshing to have the action relocated to sunny, exotic Italy – Fontana Liri, to be exact – and to meet some different characters as well as the favourites we’ve grown to know and love. In fact, I almost wish we saw a bit more of the old favourites in this book, but as I said it’s always nice to have a change! Ruth is a great character, as always, and still so solid, sharp and, ultimately, very believable; I never think she is overly dramatic about things and I feel like I can identify with her thoughts and feelings as she’s often so normal, despite not being normal – ie. brilliant – at her job. I also liked reading more about Nelson and his strong views; I do like him despite definitely not agreeing with everything he says or does. He’s not a perfect love interest and sometimes he’s quite annoying!
Something I always think about this series is that it’s never rushed. Take Ruth and Nelson’s relationship (or non-relationship, really), for example – they’ve been faffing around each other for years and years, and although there have been moments where you think ‘This is it! They’re finally going to get together‘, we’ve yet to see it properly happen- and this no doubt reflects ‘real life’ a bit more. There aren’t always happy endings or people abandoning their partners to run away into the sunset with other people. I won’t give anything away about The Dark Angel, but could it finally be time for Ruth and Nelson? That’s always something I wonder before I pick up a new book in this series – it keeps me guessing!
There’s exciting/ tense elements to the narrative which keep it interesting and it’s easy to read; Elly Griffiths has such an enjoyable way of writing. I always expect an intriguing and well written read story, which I definitely got in this novel, along with plenty of interesting archaeological details. A great read which only adds to this brilliant series!
Many thanks to the Quercus Books for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.