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The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway Mysteries) by…
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The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway Mysteries) (original 2021; edition 2021)

by Elly Griffiths (Author)

Series: Ruth Galloway (13)

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2492885,981 (4.09)54
Member:losethecovid
Title:The Night Hawks (Ruth Galloway Mysteries)
Authors:Elly Griffiths (Author)
Info:Mariner Books (2021), Edition: 1, 368 pages
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The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths (2021)

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Dr Ruth Galloway is back at the University of North Norfolk in Kings Lynn, where she is now head of the Archaeology Department. She has returned from her spell in Cambridge to replace her former boss Phil Trent, who has taken early retirement following the heart attack that he suffered during the preceding novel, The Lantern Men. Having previously had to cope with an often-overbearing boss, she now has to deal with an overbearing junior colleague (who has, in effect, taken her old post) in the shape of David Brown, who seems to muscle in to every encounter Ruth has.

As the book opens, a group of local metal detectorists, known as The Night Hawks, have been out scouring the coastline. They appear to have been successful, uncovering what may be some bronze Age remains, although these are briefly forgotten when another member finds a dead body. Meanwhile, the police are also in attendance t what appears to have been a murder-suicide at a local farmhouse.

As usual, Elly Griffiths manages the different sections of the story deftly, interlacing Ruth’s exploration of the ancient remains with the police investigation of the current deaths. While the book works perfectly well as a standalone novel, for those of us who are devotees of the series (of which this is the thirteenth instalment), all the usual cast of characters are present. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson is as grim and curt as ever. In addition to his customary concerns, he is now facing the additional burden of his earnest and boundlessly enthusiastic boss, Superintendent Jo Archer, being bent upon discussing his retirement. Unlike Phil Trent, Nelson strongly believes that this fate is still many years away.

Ruth is clearly the central character, but there is a strong ensemble cast around her. All of the principal police officers are immensely believable. For instance, Judy Johnson may to some extent be Nelson’s protegëe, but she has secured her promotion to inspector entirely on merit. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Tanya Fuller is fiercely ambitious, which sometimes means that she is not a great team player. Nelson is a great character – devoted to his family (with a very complicated private life) and to his job, at which he is reluctant to delegate. Striding alongside Ruth and the coppers is Cathbad (just your everyday sot of druid), who lives with Johnson, brings a refreshing ethereal perspective to things. Somehow, he always seems either to be there when anything out of the ordinary happens, or knows the people involved. Just reading that last sentence, I realise that anyone who does is unfamiliar with the books might wonder what is going on. All I can say is that while he might be a druid, he is as completely believable a character as he is likeable.

I realise that I have now read nineteen books by Elly Griffiths during 2021 (and I might just manage to sneak in The Midnight Hour before the year is out, and I am yet to find one that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. I generally try to avoid clustering books by one author in that way, however good they are, to avoid the risk of becoming overfamiliar with them, but that hasn’t proved a problem with her books at all. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Dec 21, 2021 |
The Night Hawks is the next entry in the long-running Ruth Galloway mystery series and I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than the previous entry for several reasons. The mystery was solid, the author didn't focus as much on the relationship between Ruth and Nelson, and Ruth was back home. I love the setting of North Norfolk and the legends, and always look forward to the way the author incorporates those legends into her stories.

First of all, I have always loved Ruth and her fierce desire to remain independent. Yes, she might be lonely at times and yearns for companionship, but her relationship with Frank has taught her not to just settle for something just because she yearns for it. Which is why she back home where she belongs. Ruth can also be a bit snarky, but those are her inner thoughts we hear and I love how those thoughts often conflict with how she has to behave. It makes her so much more real and I can definitely relate to how she is feeling a lot of the time. Nelson, naturally, yearns for what he cannot have, and I am looking forward to the day when this whole thing finally rears its ugly head and erupts. It has gone on for so long, and has been such a central focus of the books, that it has actually mired down previous books in my opinion. Luckily, it was not really the central focus of this book. I really enjoyed Nelson's mother and would love to see more of her in future books. What can I say? Mothers are definitely full of wisdom and surprises.

And Cathbad, dear Cathbad. I will always be a huge fan of this character and love the scenes when he appears. He is so full of local legend and knowledge, and always seems to know exactly what to say to those around him. And then there is a new character, David Brown, an archaeology lecturer who works with Ruth. Abrasive, nosy, and totally annoying, but someone I really warmed up to by the end of the book. I am looking forward to learning his story and seeing more of him in future books.

The writing style and plot were good, and the character development was great. I like that the author doesn't sacrifice character development for plot, and vice versa, all are equally balanced. There were some things that did bother me, things the police overlooked, but this was to further plot development. It was jarring though, and didn't quite sit well with me. It made no sense that the police would not search the entire premises when a murder has occurred, including all files, and discover some of the things that Ruth discovered. There were a couple of other things as well, but to mention them would be spoilers so I will leave it to you to figure them out. But, as I mentioned, it did niggle at the back of my brain, and I didn't quite buy into the fact these things would be overlooked.

Verdict
The Night Hawks was a solid entry into the series, and I enjoyed the introduction of a new character to the mix. I love how the author manages to mix local legends into her stories so we learn more about the background historical details which are quite interesting. I am glad to see that Ruth and Nelson's relationship didn't take central focus and allowed the actual mystery to be the main feature and strength of this book, allowing her other characters to have the limelight as well. I am definitely looking forward to the next book, The Locked Room, in this series which releases June 2022. ( )
  StephanieBN | Nov 28, 2021 |
I am up to date with Dr Ruth Galloway. Elly Griffiths has a neat trick: she throws her reader a bone, every now and then; we feel clever for being ahead of the curve. We know that a character is hiding something; we know that he/she is guilty.

Come the end of the tale and, yes that character was to blame for something but the main crime was committed by a different character. The clues were all there in the text, but I have been fooled again. It's a bit like watching a magician. Brilliant, and I love it!

I can't wait for her next book... I'll catch her out and pick the correct solution early in the book... Yes, right! ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Oct 29, 2021 |
This mystery was fun and had me guessing for awhile. Lots of characters with hidden agendas. ( )
  beebeereads | Oct 27, 2021 |
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