This month, Bookhound turns its magnifying glass on: Elly Griffiths
Elly Griffiths has received a lot of attention from us since we launched in 2021. At almost all points we have been proud to promote her different series of books, from the core Dr Ruth Galloway series through to The Brighton Mysteries and the standalone Harbinder Kaur stories. And Ms Griffiths has proved to be a great favourite of Bookhounds; our Best of Elly Griffiths Set has been flying off the virtual "shelves".
Whatever the book, she never fails to weave complex plots full of twists and turns around skilfully drawn characters. Griffiths has recently won industry recognition with the Edgar Allan Poe Award for The Stranger Diaries. And, last year The Postscript Murders was shortlisted in the Gold Dagger category at the Crime Writer's Association Awards.
Elly Griffiths was in fact born Domenica de Rosa, to an Italian father and "a mother with a good ear for alliteration". She published four books, loosely based on her father's life in Italy, before turning her attention to crime writing with her novel The Crossing Places. When her agent read the manuscript she remarked that a crime author needed a "crime name", so Ms de Rosa adopted her grandmother's name and Elly Griffiths was born.
She says that the inspiration for her Dr Ruth Galloway series was a combination of her Norfolk based grandmother who filled her head from a young age with lots of local stories and legends; and in more recent years, her husband quit a city career to become an archaeologist. It's no coincidence that this is the same professional field as Ruth Galloway.
On a walk across the Titchwell Marshes, her husband explained that the ancient inhabitants believed the ground to be sacred. The marshland being neither land nor sea represented the hinterland between life and death - a belief system that gave Elly her first thoughts for Crossing Places - her first Galloway series novel. She says on her website "As he said these words the entire plot of The Crossing Places appeared, full formed, in my head "
Fourteen books later and the core character, Dr Ruth Galloway, head of the archaeology faculty at North Norfolk University has developed into a forensic investigator of high repute. Often she is called onto cases by the police - usually DCI Nelson of the Norfolk Constabulary - to help solve complex crimes that require high levels of procedural competency.
Not only does Elly handle these crime stories with a deft touch at a technical level, but she blends the storylines with the motives of the primary perpetrators with sufficient deftness to keep the reader guessing until the end. All of which are great ingredients for a crime novel.
Only one thing remains a mystery to us: why hasn't the Galloway series yet been adapted for TV? We hope to settle down to watch Ruth's adventures on a streaming service near us soon!
Let us know your thoughts- what's your favourite Elly Griffiths novel? We'd love to read your reviews. And which actress would you cast as Dr Ruth Galloway? Post your comments below, or get in touch via Facebook or Instagram.
For details of Elly Griffiths on tour in Spring/Summer 2022 take a look at our Houndblog post on the season's crime and mystery lliterary events here.