The Night Hawks: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
By Elly Griffiths
(350 pages, mystery, 2021)
The Night Hawks are a group of amateur archaeologists who scour the coastal land and beaches of Norfolk with metal detectors, looking for treasure. They like to go out at night because there are fewer people around. But Ruth Galloway, now head of the Archaeology Department at North Norfolk University, dislikes them because they don’t know how to excavate a site properly. And she also thinks that their name sounds suspect. One night the Night Hawks discover what could be Bronze Age artifacts and an ancient skeleton on the coast, and then a recently deceased person’s body in the shallows. They keep the body from washing away. Cathbad, a modern druid, calls his friend DCI Nelson about the body. Ruth and Nelson have a complicated relationship. But Nelson needs Ruth’s help again with the artifacts and skeletal remains. A murder-suicide takes place nearby at Black Dog Farm. And a black shape, possibly a black dog, is seen haunting the farm. Locals talk about the “Black Shuck” a legendary black dog with red eyes that roams the countryside. It is a foreteller of death. Some say that if you see it, you will be dead within the year. As Nelson’s team investigates further, they find that the two cases are linked. And hiding in the shadows is a very cunning killer.
The atmosphere of the Norfolk coast is very present in this series. And I always enjoy reading about Ruth. She is a feisty, funny, and down-to-earth woman. She’s independent, but worries about doing a good job as a single parent. And the supporting cast is full of interesting characters as well. You don’t need to read this series in order, but if you’d like to start with the first one its title is The Crossing Places.
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