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The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
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The Outcast Dead (2014)

by Elly Griffiths

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I keep torturing myself with this series. Why? No idea. I can't stand any of the characters but Cathbad. And Judy. They should have a spinoff mystery series. I'm totally pulling for those crazy kids to make it.

In this one, Ruth gets to be a part of a TV show because she's unearthed some really interesting bones. She's insecure, down on herself, yet still gets attractive men to chase after her, as always.
I'm pretty much over this series. She and Harry can live unhappily ever after without me. Sorry, Ruth. I'm out. ( )
  GovMarley | Aug 6, 2017 |
42-year-old Dr. Ruth Galloway is acutely aware of the history, the blood, that has been spilled over the centuries. While resurrection is not possible, she believes in treating the dead with respect. As The Outcast Dead begins, it is early June and she is on the grounds of Norwich Castle. The vicar is leading the prayers for the outcast dead so that those who died forgotten, penniless, in unmarked graves, etc. are remembered. It is an annual event and one that Ruth feels is very important.

It seems more important than ever to honor those who have passed as recently some bodies were discovered at the castle. The deceased were most likely prisoners considering how the bodies appeared when uncovered. Included among the bodies may be the legendary Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook. A child caregiver during Victorian times known for her hook instead of a hand and her lower arm, she was executed after being convicted for murdering one of the children in her care. At the time of her execution, it was thought she might have killed at least 20 more.

The find has drawn the interest of producers of a television show well known for sensualizing such cases. The head of department, Phil Trent, is thrilled with the interest, but Ruth wants no part of that. If she had her way, she would get off the dig as well, but Phil is never going to let her do that. Knowing Phil, it is likely she is going to have to play a role in the television show as well as the dig.

Thoughts about the Mother Hook case make Ruth more protective of Kate than ever before. After everything that has happened in recent years before and after Kate’s birth, she has good reason to wonder if it is time to move from the Saltmarsh she loves to be closer to civilization in some form. Isolation is wonderful, but with a small child in the home, it can also be a dangerous risk.

DCI Harry Nelson is also pondering risk though in a different form. He is the lead investigator on the case of 37-year-old Liv Donaldson. Her child has just passed. What might have been treated as a tragic natural death in the home gets a lot more scrutiny when it is the third child in the family to die. Nelson’s team thinks the whole deal is a horrible tragedy. Nelson isn’t so sure. He has a feeling she did something to cause the death, but other than his intuition, there isn’t any evidence to indicate foul play. Like Phil Trent, Nelson’s boss, Gerry Whitcliffe, loves the publicity and is thrilled to have the media coverage. Like Ruth, Nelson hates the media interest and wants no part of the coverage.

The two story times gradually come together while someone might be copying history thanks to the media attention. Child abduction and the death of children are certainly not easy topics to write about, but Elly Griffiths, makes them part of a far larger tale of mystery, greed, and obsession. The sixth book of the series that began with The Crossing Places is another top-notch mystery.

What really makes this series work, as noted before, are the relationships. Complicated and well-drawn characters that interact and evolve over time as they go about their daily lives drive the reads. Unlike many series where the characters never learn from the past or change in any way despite the experiences they have had, both and a lot more are present in the Ruth Galloway Mystery Series. These characters are about as real as it gets on the printed page.

History, archelogy, mystery, and more make this book and series well worth reading. The Outcast Dead, like the others before it, is very good and highly recommended.

The books, in order, and my reviews:
The Crossing Places (Reviewed 12/26/15)
The Janus Stone (Reviewed 11/18/2016)
The House at Sea’s End (Reviewed 12/2/2016)
A Room Full of Bones (Reviewed 12/30/2016)
A Dying Fall: A Ruth Galloway Mystery (Reviewed 2/10/2017)

The Outcast Dead: A Ruth Galloway Mystery
Elly Griffiths
http://www.ellygriffiths.co.uk/
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
http://www.hmhbooks.com
March 2014
ISBN# 978-0-547-79277-4
Hardback (also available in paperback, audio, and eBook formats)
384 Pages
$27.00

Material obtained via the Plano Public Library System to read and review.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2017 ( )
  kevinrtipple | Jun 24, 2017 |
The Outcast Dead is the sixth book Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths and as usually I'm having a bit of a problem reading the book, because even though I often enjoy the stories in the books I just can't stand the characters. Well, I don't hate them, they just annoy me, things they say or thinks can make me mentally roll my eyes. So when I pick up and read a book by Elly Griffith will I know that Ruth will as usually always bring up in her mind how fat she is and how thin everyone else is. Nelson, the cop she has a baby with will constantly nag her about what's best for their daughter and so on...

But I keep coming back to the books for the stories, for the cases, for the archeology, for the mix of the past and the present time. In this book a woman gets accused of killing her own child and at the same time Ruth has discovered the body of who they think is notorious Mother Hook who was hanged 1867 accused of killing children.

So the rating for the books is 3,5 stars with less annoying characters it would have gotten 4 stars. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
This was the sixth book in the Ruth Galloway series, which many here have talked about, but which Beth sold me on with her review of the latest book in the series. These have been like candy to me - I love Ruth, who is a forensic archaeologist. She seems like someone I could hang out with - she is so smart but also so down to earth. She loves history, Bruce Springsteen and wine - what's not to like?!

This particular entry was a lot of fun - Ruth has unearthed the body of Jemima Green on the grounds of Norwich Castle. Known as Mother Hook (she had a hook arm), she was hanged back in 1867 for murdering children. She has become a notorious historical figure, but did she do it? To complicate Ruth's life, the find is to be featured on a sensational tv series called Women Who Kill. Meanwhile, DCI Harry Nelson, the police inspector that Ruth sometimes assists is dealing with figuring out whether a child has been murdered or if it's just a tragic case of SIDS.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

p.8-9 “But recently, particularly this winter when they were snowed in for several days, she has begun to wonder if this is really the best place for bringing up a child. Shouldn’t she be nearer to civilisation, playgroups, Chinese takeaways, that sort of thing? The trouble is that Ruth doesn’t always like civilisation very much.

p.393 “‘One of your colleagues has just offered to take some of the grey out of my hair,’ says Frank, sitting beside Ruth.

‘Grey’s okay on a man,’ says Mary-Anne. ‘Silver fox and all that.’

Ruth notices that there isn’t a female equivalent to ‘silver fox’. ‘Grey-haired old bat’ doesn’t cover it somehow.”

And this one, which brought back a conversation we were having earlier this year over on Susan's thread:

p. 313 “Dani gads joined them. Ruth has noticed before how she often defers to Frank on set. Now she’s asking him what he thought of the earlier segment with Corinna. ‘I thought it was quite good.’

When Dani has darted away, in a hurry as always, Frank turns to Ruth. ‘When Americans say something’s ‘quite good’ they mean that it’s very good. When Brits say it, they mean ‘so-so’. That had me confused for years.’" ( )
1 vote Crazymamie | Sep 4, 2016 |
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For my children, Alex and Juliet
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'And we ask your abundant blessings, Lord, on these, the outcast dead ...'
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547792778, Hardcover)

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series.

Every year a ceremony is held at Norwich Castle for the bodies in the paupers’ graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year’s proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program’s alluring history expert, Professor Frank Barker.

DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out—and the stakes couldn’t be any higher when another child goes missing.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:09 -0400)

"Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of a Victorian murderess while a baby snatcher threatens modern-day Norfolk in this exciting new entry in a beloved series. Every year a ceremony is held in Norwich for the bodies in the paupers' graves: the Service for the Outcast Dead. Ruth has a particular interest in this year's proceedings. Her recent dig at Norwich Castle turned up the body of the notorious Mother Hook, who was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children. Now Ruth is the reluctant star of the TV series Women Who Kill, working alongside the program's alluring history expert, Professor Chet Bruce. DCI Harry Nelson is immersed in the case of three children found dead in their home. He is sure that the mother is responsible. Then another child is abducted and a kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility. Are there two murderers afoot, or is the Childminder behind all the deaths? The team must race to find out--and the stakes couldn't be any higher when another child goes missing. "--… (more)

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