Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.
She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Amyas March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.
Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.
Is Amyas March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?
Well, what can I say – without fail, I know a new Ruth Galloway mystery will be enjoyable, entertaining and like returning to old friends, and The Lantern Men is no exception! Although we’re in a different setting to the last book – Ruth is currently living in Cambridge with Kate and Frank, her partner – she gets involved in a case with Nelson so we get plenty of the same characters (phew!) and settings back in the Norfolk area, as well as those in Cambridge which makes a nice change too.
Serial killer Ivor March, who DCI Nelson put away in prison has offered a deal – he will give the location of where more bodies are buried if Ruth – and only Ruth – is in charge of excavating them. But then another victim is found when March is still in prison, and it fits the previous pattern. Could March be innocent? What follows is a tense, atmospheric investigation. Ruth also finds herself wondering if her present situation is really what she wants.
It’s so lovely to return to the familiar characters – not just Ruth but Nelson, Judy, Cathbad, etc. There’s also lots of humorous moments in this book as we often hear Ruth’s dry observations, which made me smile. These books have murders and other grittiness in them but are never too dark, I feel.
I read this book out of order – I had already read the book after this one, The Night Hawks, so I knew one of the outcomes of this book but it didn’t affect my enjoyment at all! And what’s great, for people who haven’t read others in the series (or not all of the others), is that the books always give a good amount of background when they mention people or things from the past, so you can easily work out what’s happening. There’s always a handy glossary in the back too.
I really enjoyed this novel and, having already read the one after (read my review of The Night Hawks here), am now eagerly anticipating book 14 (coming 2022, apparently!)