Title: The Ghost Fields Author: Elly Griffiths Published: May 19th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Format: Hardcover, Pgs 384 Genre: Police Procedural Series: Ruth Galloway #7
Elly Griffiths has taken a part of World War II history and has woven a twisty mystery involving the Blackstock family of Norfolk and how cursed land can leave its indelible mark.
Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, has been called out when a body has been discovered in a World War II plane that has recently been dug up during the construction of a housing project on the Blackstock Estate in Norfolk. Ruth’s antennae are at full alert since what she knows and what she sees are not adding up. This body looks too preserved as if it was in a marshy area and not the chalky soil that it was found in. When the DNA returns and it shows that the body in the plane is related to the local Blackstock family, on whose land the plane was found, Ruth realizes that she is in deep on this one.
The Blackstock family is a bit strange. There are secrets here and since their “land is cursed because it should be at the bottom of the sea”, getting straight answers from any of them is more of a challenge then Ruth and DCI Harry Nelson are prepared for. Three brothers, one was supposed to have died during the war when his plane went down at sea, one came home from the war damaged and just wandered away, the third who loved the land more than anyone else and could not see it leave the family. Now the next generation of Blackstock’s are torn between family loyalties and their own dreams. What are they to do now that a strange man has shown up at the funeral? Who was he and why can they not find him again?
To me, this is a turning point book that delves deeper into the lives of those around Ruth There is just as much going on with the recurring characters as there is with the Blackstock family. Frank Barker, who was in the previous Outcast Dead, is back in this book romancing Ruth, Nelson’s wife Michelle has a secret of her own and now Ruth has become aware of it. Ruth’s eyes have been opened a bit in regards to Cathbad - how could he not have foreseen his daughter’s birth or the evilness of his friend? How could Tim, a man that claims to respect Nelson, do what he is doing? Clough is featured more prominently. Kate is growing up quickly and is starts school. Though Ruth will forever be in love with Nelson, she likes her life the way it is.
I am still not sure if I liked this book, what is gnawing on me is when was the body placed in the plane? If that part was stated in the book, I completely missed it. How can a plane crash on your property and remain unnoticed for 70 years while the land reclaims it?
Parts were fascinating but at the same time, conclusions were jumped to without any logic. All the while, other parts felt like a repeat of the last book. The whole thing with the TV crew and History Program, but then again, how else would Elly Griffiths bring Frank Barker back? To top it off, how the book ended, seemed like a rush job.
This is still one of my favorite series and I think that I set my sights too high. I really enjoyed the first couple of books that were more forensics based but now that she is putting more emphasis on the recurring characters, I think something is lost.