The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths

The Ghost Fields by Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The chilling discovery of a downed World War II plane with a body inside leads Ruth and DCI Nelson to uncover a wealthy family’s secrets in this Ruth Galloway mystery.

It’s a blazing hot summer in Norfolk when a construction crew unearths a downed American fighter plane from World War II with a body inside. Forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway determines that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat long presumed dead—news that seems to frighten his descendants. Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called ghost fields, which the Blackstocks have converted into a pig farm. As production begins, Ruth notices a mysterious man loitering at Fred Blackstock’s memorial service. Then human bones are found on the family’s pig farm and the weather quickly turns. Can the team outrace a looming flood to find the killer?

When a large field – previously used by planes in World War 2 – is dug up in preparation for a bunch of new apartments to be built an American WW2 aircraft is found, with a dead pilot inside. Nelson calls in Ruth to examine the site and the body and to see if this is a purely historical site or if something more sinister is going on. What secrets is the ghost field harboring?

I have been enjoying this series and really feel the author and characters are beginning to come into a strong place. Ruth and Nelson still have a lot of stuff to work out, but they’re finding a balance between Nelson’s wife and other children and where Ruth and Kate fit in amongst all that, and Ruth in particular to my mind seems to be hitting her stride when it comes to being both a mother and her career in archaeology. There are still ups and downs and plenty going on – but I really enjoyed this book and the feel that things were starting to get a rhythm and hit their stride.

I also really enjoyed how the author did a commendable job in my opinion on balancing the past and the present. There were no flashbacks (which I tend to find jarring and annoying more often than not) but the story clearly wove between what happened in the second world war and how it was relevant and still guiding the families and characters in the present day. Throw in a tv show, plenty of housing development money and ordinary greed/secrets into the various motives and this was a really strongly plotted and interesting murder mystery.

The plot is very well contained to just this story. Many of the secondary characters have quite a bit of history and while I don’t feel this weighs the book down or would be too annoying for readers who come to this story fresh, I really do feel that at least some of the previous books should have been read for the full enjoyment to be experienced. This is a great series so I feel it would be worthwhile to go and start at the beginning but admit this book totally can be picked up and enjoyed by itself.

Strongly plotted with interesting characters this book is an excellent blend of archaeology and present-day murder mystery and I really enjoyed it.

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