Title: The House at Sea’s End
Author: Elly Griffiths
Release Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Ruth is back at work after her maternity leave, and she’s finding it difficult to balance the demands of being a mother and working at a job she adores. When she is called to investigate sets of human bones found hidden on a beach in Norfolk, Ruth is intrigued. The bones turn out to date from World War II, which brings up the question of war crimes. Who were these people, and why were they murdered?
The House at Sea’s End is a nice mix between mystery, history, and personal struggles. Ruth absolutely adores her new daughter, but she feels guilty for finding relief when she gets away to work. Does that make her a bad mother? She feels people’s eyes on her, judging her for being a single mom, for not being good enough of a mother. She puts herself under a lot of pressure, which makes for interesting character development as the novel progresses.
The mystery in The House at Sea’s End is simply fascinating. As Ruth and DCI Nelson dig into the case, they find some intriguing history behind it. From the beginning, it’s clear that someone hoped these bodies would never be found. The only reason they were uncovered was because of an unprecedented rate of coastal erosion. Who was behind these grisly murders? Griffiths writes a gripping mystery and adds in Ruth’s forensic archaeology expertise, making this a very interesting read.
There is a secondary storyline in The House at Sea’s End about Ruth’s work in Bosnia identifying bodies in mass graves. Her friend from the time, Tatjana, has come to visit, bringing back these painful memories that Ruth would prefer not to revisit. While this storyline isn’t fully developed, it’s certainly fascinating. Griffiths does her best to show the reader the horrors of war and the way it can change a person completely. It would have been great had this storyline been more fleshed out, especially considering its relevance to identifying the bodies on the beach, but it’s still fascinating.
With the third Ruth Galloway mystery, Elly Griffiths has really cemented herself as an amazing crime fiction writer. These novels are intriguing, with bits of history and wonderful character development sprinkled in for good measure. I’d recommend reading them in order, as they build on one another for character development. This is a series that fans of crime fiction should definitely be reading.