The discovery of a missing woman’s bones force Ruth and Nelson to finally confront their feelings for each other as they desperately work to exonerate one of their own in this not-to-be-missed Ruth Galloway mystery from USA Today bestselling author Elly Griffiths.
When builders discover a human skeleton during a renovation of a café, they call in archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway, who is preoccupied with the threatened closure of her department and by her ever-complicated relationship with DCI Nelson. The bones turn out to be modern—the remains of Emily Pickering, a young archaeology student who went missing in 2002. Suspicion soon falls on Emily’s Cambridge tutor and also on another archeology enthusiast who was part of the group gathered the weekend before she disappeared—Ruth’s friend Cathbad.
As they investigate, Nelson and his team uncover a tangled web of relationships within the archeology group and look for a link between them and the café where Emily’s bones were found. Then, just when the team seem to be making progress, Cathbad disappears. The trail leads Ruth a to the Neolithic flint mines in Grimes Graves. The race is on, first to find Cathbad and then to exonerate him, but will Ruth and Nelson uncover the truth in time to save their friend?
Elly Griffiths recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE LAST REMAINS.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope readers will find this a fitting to end to a particular chapter in the characters’ lives. It’s not necessarily the last Ruth book ever, but it’s a finale of sorts.
Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?
I discovered the neolithic flint mines at Grime’s Graves in Norfolk. I was given a special tour, which was wonderful but also rather scary. I descended 12 meters into the ground and crawled through the tunnels carved into the rock. It’s incredible to think that the mines were originally excavated using only antler picks and animal bones. Of course, I had to set the book’s climactic scene there.
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
For me it often starts with the setting. The idea for the Ruth books came when my archaeologist husband and I were walking across the Norfolk marshes. Andy mentioned that prehistoric people thought marshland was sacred, because it’s neither land nor sea. They saw it as a bridge to the afterlife, halfway between life and death. As he said those words, Dr Ruth Galloway just appeared before me out of the mist. But I do think character is the most important factor in a successful crime novel. If readers don’t care about your characters, then there’s no tension or suspense in your books.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge was ending the series in a satisfying way that tied up all the loose ends, But that was the biggest opportunity too. I wanted to give Ruth a fitting farewell (for now!).
ELLY GRIFFITHS is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton mystery series and the stand-alone novels The Stranger Diaries and The Postscript Murders. She is a recipient of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. She lives in Brighton, England.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.
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