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In the next Ruth Galloway mystery, a vision of the Virgin Mary foreshadows a string of cold-blooded murders, revealing a dark current of religious fanaticism in an old medieval town. Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark b In the next Ruth Galloway mystery, a vision of the Virgin Mary foreshadows a string of cold-blooded murders, revealing a dark current of religious fanaticism in an old medieval town. Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? When one of Hilary’s fellow female priests is murdered just before Little Walsingham’s annual Good Friday Passion Play, Ruth, Cathbad, and DCI Harry Nelson must team up to find the killer before he strikes again.


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In the next Ruth Galloway mystery, a vision of the Virgin Mary foreshadows a string of cold-blooded murders, revealing a dark current of religious fanaticism in an old medieval town. Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark b In the next Ruth Galloway mystery, a vision of the Virgin Mary foreshadows a string of cold-blooded murders, revealing a dark current of religious fanaticism in an old medieval town. Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? When one of Hilary’s fellow female priests is murdered just before Little Walsingham’s annual Good Friday Passion Play, Ruth, Cathbad, and DCI Harry Nelson must team up to find the killer before he strikes again.

30 review for The Woman in Blue

  1. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded up am just totally enjoying the Ruth Galloway series. I dread the idea that I’m getting caught up with them and will soon be left waiting to see how fast Ms. Griffiths can write. Book 8 starts with the murder of a young model. A patient at a rehabilitation center, she walks out one evening and is strangled. The book also tackles the subject of women priests in the C of E church. I hadn’t realized that the C of E was so far behind the American Episcopal Church, so initially it 3.5 stars, rounded up am just totally enjoying the Ruth Galloway series. I dread the idea that I’m getting caught up with them and will soon be left waiting to see how fast Ms. Griffiths can write. Book 8 starts with the murder of a young model. A patient at a rehabilitation center, she walks out one evening and is strangled. The book also tackles the subject of women priests in the C of E church. I hadn’t realized that the C of E was so far behind the American Episcopal Church, so initially it struck me as odd that they were still having trouble being accepted in 2013. Because of the subject matter, religion is front and center and we get to hear most of the character’s beliefs and histories. I enjoyed that several of the characters find themselves questioning their beliefs in this book. As always, the characters are more important than the murder mystery itself. We get a few revelations in this story, both happy and sad. This is the first time an Elly Griffiths ending has not rung true for me. I felt it was contrived. But as I’ve said, I enjoy this series more for the characters than the mystery.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    Still loving this great series although I definitely prefer the books which feature Ruth's archaeological skills. She does a lot of research in this one but that is not quite the same. Still a good story featuring all the well known characters, a number of mysterious deaths and a large amount of interesting religious history. There is no way I can stop reading the series now anyway. The 'will they won't they' of Nelson and Ruth's relationship just has to be resolved one day. I thought the solutio Still loving this great series although I definitely prefer the books which feature Ruth's archaeological skills. She does a lot of research in this one but that is not quite the same. Still a good story featuring all the well known characters, a number of mysterious deaths and a large amount of interesting religious history. There is no way I can stop reading the series now anyway. The 'will they won't they' of Nelson and Ruth's relationship just has to be resolved one day. I thought the solution had almost been reached but this book took that chance away. Or did it? And what did Nelson say at the end? I need to read book 9 very soon!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 This outing takes the reader to the medieval town of Walshingham, once the site of a monastery and a site known for its veneration of the Virgin Mary. The site and its lady slipper cathedral is a big draw for pilgrims, priests, nuns and every years hosts an reenactment of the stations of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus. Ruth is brought into the story when a friend from college and one time archeologist, now an Anglican priest receives threatening letters, decrying the use of woman as 3.5 This outing takes the reader to the medieval town of Walshingham, once the site of a monastery and a site known for its veneration of the Virgin Mary. The site and its lady slipper cathedral is a big draw for pilgrims, priests, nuns and every years hosts an reenactment of the stations of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus. Ruth is brought into the story when a friend from college and one time archeologist, now an Anglican priest receives threatening letters, decrying the use of woman as priests in the church. Murders follow, Cathbad becomes involved as do the rest of the police. Such a good series, just the right combination of archeology, ancient sites, history, crime and personal relationships. A bit of a personal surprise in this one but will have to wait till the next book to see how it develops, if it does at all. Love these characters too, they are easy to relate to and interesting as well. ARC from Netgalley.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    This is the second book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths I have read and loved. Reading Elly Griffiths is like sitting down for a wine and chat with your best friend. She has a direct no nonsense style to her writing, but still manages to inject loads of atmosphere and detail. Don't let the fact that this is a series put you off. I have not read the full series (but plan to) and both books I have read work well as a stand alone. There is enough of the back story to fill in the gaps wi This is the second book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths I have read and loved. Reading Elly Griffiths is like sitting down for a wine and chat with your best friend. She has a direct no nonsense style to her writing, but still manages to inject loads of atmosphere and detail. Don't let the fact that this is a series put you off. I have not read the full series (but plan to) and both books I have read work well as a stand alone. There is enough of the back story to fill in the gaps without overpowering the current plot. Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? Thank you to NetGalley and Quercus Books for providing a digital ARC of The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    It pains me to rate this a 3 when all the rest of the Galloway series have been 4s. The mystery is layered and complicated, there are a lot of nuances (hey, it’s a religious theme so that’s to be expected) and Griffiths has introduced a long list of victims and suspects. And maybe that’s exactly why reading it was a struggle at one point— too much of a good thing. Too many places, too many characters and too many suspects. Then, as in recent books, we have the obligatory “will they or won’t they It pains me to rate this a 3 when all the rest of the Galloway series have been 4s. The mystery is layered and complicated, there are a lot of nuances (hey, it’s a religious theme so that’s to be expected) and Griffiths has introduced a long list of victims and suspects. And maybe that’s exactly why reading it was a struggle at one point— too much of a good thing. Too many places, too many characters and too many suspects. Then, as in recent books, we have the obligatory “will they or won’t they” storyline. Lost a half star because the personal resolution, as always, remains one sided. Can’t say more without spoilers, but I’m almost over it... well, I guess like Ruth, I’m harboring a touch of hope. Silly reader! Regardless, my esteem for Ruth and her circle of friends and colleagues remains high. Just hoping the mystery’s resolution is a bit less rushed and more engaging in the next book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    A woman is found dead in a ditch in Walsingham. It seems that she is a model and she has been treated for addiction in a close by hospital. Nelson is investigation the case and soon his path will cross with Ruth again who is in Walsingham meeting an old friend that she studied with and then changed her career and become a priest. She has gotten threats and wants Ruth's help since she works closely with the police. Then, another woman gets killed and this time, it's a female priest. There were som A woman is found dead in a ditch in Walsingham. It seems that she is a model and she has been treated for addiction in a close by hospital. Nelson is investigation the case and soon his path will cross with Ruth again who is in Walsingham meeting an old friend that she studied with and then changed her career and become a priest. She has gotten threats and wants Ruth's help since she works closely with the police. Then, another woman gets killed and this time, it's a female priest. There were some things that irked me with this book, not so much the case itself with the dead women as the preconceived attitude towards female priests and religion that pervades this book. Especially Ruth Galloway is extremely anti-religion and it was for me very frustrating to read because the attitude bothered me. This is not something new, she has been wary about religion since she was young and this is something that has been addressed previously in the books. But since this book is about threats against female priests and also a murder that seems to be connected to the treats are the preconceived attitude that Ruth is displaying quite frustrating for me to read who is so used to the ecclesial world (or, at least, was). Ruth's attitude towards her old friend Hilary that changed her career and decided to become a priest felt a bit condescending. This is something that probably will not bother everyone that reads the book. But I do prefer Cathbad's more open attitude towards religion than Ruth and Nelson's quite closed attitude. I can be quite tired about Ruth whining about Nelson called their daughter Katie instead of Kate. Come on Ruth. Don't be so sensitive it's just a nickname. At least, she wasn't whining that much about her weight in this book. Alright, I needed to get that off my chest. Let's return to the case itself. I was really looking forward to this book since this is one of my favorite series (yes, despite that I find Ruth a bit too whiny sometimes) and this case sounded interesting. And, in a way it was, I mean there were several possible candidates for whom could be the killers. The police, of course, found themselves a possible suspect early one, but I was quite sure that was a red herring. But, the book was never really thrilling, it was an OK read. However, still I felt that something was lacking, could be that my annoyance with Ruth and Nelson that took away some excitement with reading this book or that the story just not to my liking. Probably a mix of it. But, still I'm going to look forward to reading the next book in this series. I love the mix of crime and archeology. And, now when I think about is it probably what made this book less interesting to read. Too little archeology involved in the story. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hall

    Step aside from the sheer unlikelihood of a proliferation of serious crimes and murder landing at the doorstep of Kings Lynn CID and the number with an archaeological element (they often don’t have, but the continuing cast come as an entourage, hence the presence of a forensic archaeologist), and readers are left with one of the most popular sagas in crime fiction, and rightly so. Admittedly, the plot element isn’t always the strongest component, but Elly Griffiths has trademarked the perfect bl Step aside from the sheer unlikelihood of a proliferation of serious crimes and murder landing at the doorstep of Kings Lynn CID and the number with an archaeological element (they often don’t have, but the continuing cast come as an entourage, hence the presence of a forensic archaeologist), and readers are left with one of the most popular sagas in crime fiction, and rightly so. Admittedly, the plot element isn’t always the strongest component, but Elly Griffiths has trademarked the perfect blend of realistic characters, personal drama, atmospheric settings and historical and archaeological content and overlaid it with a warmth and wit that has made Dr Ruth Galloway and her cronies a readers favourite. This eighth outing is one of the my favourites of the series, largely owing to the fact that the crime element, albeit reliant on a slightly tenuous motive is one of the more complex and has a high octane finish.. well, as pulsating as they come in sleepy Norfolk villages! In this encounter all roads lead to Walshingham, a medieval village of Norfolk known for its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary and its status as a major pilgrimage centre. As expected this is not a location that hardened atheist, Dr Ruth Galloway, has found necessary to frequent during her thirteen-years of residence in the county! However, druid and purple cloak-wearer Cathbad inveigles himself in the thick of things when a spell of cat-sitting within the grounds of the churchyard at St. Simeon’s cottage on behalf of his friend leaves him seeing a vision reminiscent of the Virgin Mary cloaked in blue and white beside a gravestone. Sadly, Cathbad’s ‘vision’ turns out to be the dead body of twenty-five-year-old model Chloe Jenkins, which has been placed in a ditch just outside Walsingham and is discovered the next morning. As an inpatient at local rehabilitation clinic, The Sanctuary, owing to her drug habit, Chloe is not quite clad in a cloak but simply wearing a blue dressing gown and nightdress. . Her cause of death is manual strangulation and with a rosary laid on her chest it appears that she had been cleaning one particular gravestone.. but why was she out so late in her nightwear, and who could possibly have had a motive for her death? As DCI Nelson and his sergeants, no-nonsense Dave Clough and urbane Tim Heathfield, attempt to make headway they find themselves stymied by the overwhelming spiritual and religious overtones of the village known as England’s Nazareth. With DS Judy Johnson still on maternity leave, eager and ambitious new DC Tanya Fuller is busy trying to cement her place on the team! Dr Ruth Galloway is drawn to the village when she is contacted by an old university friend from her UCL days, Hilary Smithson, who reports that she is attending a conference in Walsingham and would like Ruth’s advice. Inwardly Ruth wishes people didn’t see her as such a good listener and her internal dialogue as she cringes and thinks she has enough of her own problems with a five-year-old daughter to contend with is brilliantly authentic. Ruth’s sense of humour is so ordinary, she doesn’t take herself too seriously and her unspoken insights inject a witty and good natured honesty into Griffith’s prose. When Hilary turns out to have become an Anglican priest and attending a course on becoming a bishop with a group fellow female priests she confides in Ruth about a series of threateningly letters that she has received, targeting female clergy and becoming steadily more personal and sinister. The latest missive contains an ominous threat, noting Hilary’s intention to stay in Walsingham and her concerns see Ruth seeking the advice of Nelson. When an foiled attack on Michelle Nelson leaves her shaken and with the subsequent discovery that one of Hilary’s fellow female priest delegates has been murdered, that all three women are all blonde and blue-eyed beauties is lost on no one. But as DCI Nelson and Dr Ruth Galloway dig deeper with Ruth researching the more recent archaeological findings in the village, which included a phial supposedly believed to contain a sample of the Virgin Mary’s breast milk, can they safely assume that the two murders and the letter writer are one and the same? As the denouement culminates with an atmospheric performance of the annual Good Friday Passion Play, a nail-biting mix of suspense and comedy drama (DS Clough with a tea-towel on his head and an iPhone in one hand attempting to act in the Passion Play) sets up an exhilarating finale. As a reader with an extremely basic understanding of the different factions within the Church of England I am continually impressed by how accessible Elly Griffith’s makes this minefield for those not indoctrinated. Whilst her narrative never reads as an information dump, Griffith’s feeds her readers the critical elements of religious, spiritual and archaeological detail and ensures her audience feel well-informed and up to speed. In this sense, as an atheist, Dr Ruth Galloway is a wonderfully impartial observer and as the lead character she projects both sides of an argument and manages to gets to the root of some of the most contentious arguments from an objective standpoint. The unlikely on-off romance between gruff and unreconstructed male DCI Harry Nelson and forensic archaeology lecturer Ruth has been a continuing feature of this series and together they are parents to Kate (or as Nelson insistent on calling her, “Katie”). Despite Nelson’s marriage to glamorous hairdresser and childhood sweetheart, Michelle, domestic waters are muddied by the presence of Nelson’s lingering feelings for Ruth and Michelle’s own attachment to one of her husband’s team in the shape of DS Tim Heathfield. Examined in the cold light of day, the motive behind the murders in The Woman in Blue admittedly isn’t the most credible, but for the drama, atmosphere, humour and complex characterisations of her continuing cast, Elly Griffith’s and her leading lady, Dr Ruth Galloway, are hard to beat. A series which never fails to leave me feeling engaged, involved and energised. Potential new readers are recommended to follow the series in order to derive full benefit from the intricate personal involvements and the nuanced emotions of Ruth and her merry band.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pat (not getting friend updates currently)

    I really, really enjoyed this. It’s probably not the best book but I loved it. Cathbad is house and cat sitting for a friend in Little Walsingham. As he’s calling the cat in one night he sees a young woman in the graveyard in a white robe and a blue cloak. He thinks he has had a vision of the Virgin Mary - the area is a famous pilgrim destination. But the truth is more prosaic. The young woman, a model currently in rehab at The Sanctuary, is found dead the next morning. No one knows what she was I really, really enjoyed this. It’s probably not the best book but I loved it. Cathbad is house and cat sitting for a friend in Little Walsingham. As he’s calling the cat in one night he sees a young woman in the graveyard in a white robe and a blue cloak. He thinks he has had a vision of the Virgin Mary - the area is a famous pilgrim destination. But the truth is more prosaic. The young woman, a model currently in rehab at The Sanctuary, is found dead the next morning. No one knows what she was doing wandering around in her nightwear in the middle of the night however. Meanwhile Ruth has been contacted by an old friend from Uni, Hilary Smithson who is now a priest. She wants to catch up with Ruth but she has an ulterior motive - Hilary has been getting threatening, anonymous letters from someone who does not hold with women priests and she wants Ruth to use her influence with DCI Harry Nelson re the letters. Hilary is coming to Walsingham for a conference and the she does catch up with Ruth. They go out to dinner with the other conference attendees, all women priests. But that night one of the other women priests is murdered. While this is going on Nelson learns that his wife, Michelle, has been seeing young DS Tim Heathfield and things get a little awkward all round. And Cathbad has become quite domesticated since the birth of his daughter Miranda. Naturally, between them, Ruth and Nelson put most of the pieces of this puzzle together although Acting DS Tanya Fuller plays a significant role in this book. I’ll be reading #9 soon, just having a little interlude now. I’m really curious now though about whether Ruth and Nelson’s non-relationship will ever go anywhere. In the meantime I’m enjoying spending time with these characters. The books also have some great archaeological elements, historical elements and religious elements (not preachy, just informative/historical). The links between paganism and Christianity are also sometimes explored. Griffiths peppers her books with real places and real events so the stories come more alive.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid

    3.5 stars I enjoyed the story in general, but there were a few things that annoyed me this time. Leads brought up and not properly worked out. In comparison to the books I read before, this one was definitely more 'Midsomer Murders'-sy (you probably can't say it like that). 3.5 stars I enjoyed the story in general, but there were a few things that annoyed me this time. Leads brought up and not properly worked out. In comparison to the books I read before, this one was definitely more 'Midsomer Murders'-sy (you probably can't say it like that).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is a book that ticks so many boxes and despite having to introduce a number of controversial elements the author has produced a novel of depth which should not cause any lasting offence. In choosing to set the majority of the story around Walsingham you instantly have an interesting location, steeped in history but also a place of faith and pilgramage to its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary. Add to this mix, women priests seeking more recognition; a rehab centre for drug and al This is a book that ticks so many boxes and despite having to introduce a number of controversial elements the author has produced a novel of depth which should not cause any lasting offence. In choosing to set the majority of the story around Walsingham you instantly have an interesting location, steeped in history but also a place of faith and pilgramage to its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary. Add to this mix, women priests seeking more recognition; a rehab centre for drug and alcohol abuse and an isolated community once the tour buses leave, you have a wonderful setting. In the mind and writing skill of Elly Griffiths you ultimately have murder, and over the telling of the investigation more motives and persons of interest to the Police than the Stations of the Cross. It is one thing to have a unique location but the author utilises it fully, from the carpet of snowdrops to the climax during the Easter Passion Play. Creating not just a terrific crime mystery but rooting it in a reality that makes it come alive and be both believable and threatening at the same time. When a young woman is found dead in a ditch the initial reaction of DCI Nelson is that it offers a chance to do real police work. There is no disrespect of the victim but an acknowledgement that violent crime isn't the reality of rural Norfolk. I like this simple nod to the genre and in my mind it makes the ensuing story much more credible. Much more it shows that Elly isn't just a formulaic plot writer. Her lead character Ruth doesn't go on an archaeological dig every book, find bones and assist the police to solve the mystery, during which time her relationship with the main detective gets more involved. No the author has a time line. Ruth & Nelson's daughter is now at school and life is moving on with all its associated problems. We have a full set of familiar characters returning in book 8 of this brilliant series; that it is a religious place enables Cathbad to have an important role and provides a more sinister return for Father Henessey. What I love most is that significant as they both are, this isn't just the Ruth and Nelson show. Many of the other police officers and partners show development and demonstrate real issues in their lives outside of work. There is even time to have a standoff between Cathbad and a cat he is looking after; this makes for a clever introduction into the story and reflects the humour Elly brings throughout her work; watch out also for the role that Ruth's cat Flint continues to have and the use of dogs which in my opinion helps to produce a novel difficult to put down or forget quickly. I hope with this latest 5 star novel, adding to a growing list of crime fiction penned over 2 series, that a CWA dagger is given to this talented author. Such recognition is long overdue, meanwhile I recommend her work to all who enjoy a great book and a crime story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    This book is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series. The usual cast of characters are here, although some stayed way in the background. Archaeology takes a backseat to religion in this book. It's not preachy, just historical, and women priests play a part. Two young women are killed, and two others are attacked. There's no shortage of possible suspects because Walsingham is filled with people attending the Good Friday Passion Play. There are changes in the lives of Nelson, Clough, and Tim. And m This book is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series. The usual cast of characters are here, although some stayed way in the background. Archaeology takes a backseat to religion in this book. It's not preachy, just historical, and women priests play a part. Two young women are killed, and two others are attacked. There's no shortage of possible suspects because Walsingham is filled with people attending the Good Friday Passion Play. There are changes in the lives of Nelson, Clough, and Tim. And maybe in Ruth's as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Elly Griffiths has come up with an interesting concept and the book was beautifully written but, for reasons I can't explain, I just didn't connect to the book at all. I really feel like apologising. Sorry Elly! Thank you to Elly Griffiths, Quercus Books, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review. Elly Griffiths has come up with an interesting concept and the book was beautifully written but, for reasons I can't explain, I just didn't connect to the book at all. I really feel like apologising. Sorry Elly! Thank you to Elly Griffiths, Quercus Books, and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    4.5 stars This is my favorite mystery series right now. The protagonist is Ruth Galloway, a professor of archaeology, in Norfolk England. She gets involved in police investigations when bones are found and need to be dated. Are they from the 1300's or 2016? This is not a problem in CA, so I find it completely fascinating. She has a young daughter, Kate, and a good friend, Cathbad, who is a druid. This is particularly interesting addition to the series. It centers around women Anglican priests wh 4.5 stars This is my favorite mystery series right now. The protagonist is Ruth Galloway, a professor of archaeology, in Norfolk England. She gets involved in police investigations when bones are found and need to be dated. Are they from the 1300's or 2016? This is not a problem in CA, so I find it completely fascinating. She has a young daughter, Kate, and a good friend, Cathbad, who is a druid. This is particularly interesting addition to the series. It centers around women Anglican priests who are trying to gain more acceptance in their careers. Even though American Episcopalians have woman as the national Bishop, the English women are not even allowed to be bishops. There is a seminar with women priests in Walsingham Norfolk to discuss the issue. One of them turns out to be an university friend of Ruth. Ruth has a strong anti-religious stance so she is horrified to find her friend is a priest. Walsingham is famous as a pilgrim religious site and apparitions. Just before the Passion Play, women start turning up dead. Ruth's friend receives threatening letters about her being a priest. Are they connected? The search for the killer is thrill packed. I could barely put it down. The reason, though, I gave it 4.5 stars is that when the motive is uncovered, I found it very weak. Everything else is really good but the motive seems far fetched to me. Still, it's a great read and series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    I just love the humor in these books. This one started out in a particularly amusing way. Interesting setting, interesting new/temporary characters, and I always love being back with the recurring characters. I had many suspicions about some people from the start and it was fun to read and find out when I’d guesses right/wrong. There were lots of red herrings but all of them made sense. I’d thought of the culprit (view spoiler)[ (s) (hide spoiler)] at different points but I love when I can’t gue I just love the humor in these books. This one started out in a particularly amusing way. Interesting setting, interesting new/temporary characters, and I always love being back with the recurring characters. I had many suspicions about some people from the start and it was fun to read and find out when I’d guesses right/wrong. There were lots of red herrings but all of them made sense. I’d thought of the culprit (view spoiler)[ (s) (hide spoiler)] at different points but I love when I can’t guess correctly and this was one time when I was stymied. I read these books for the characters and the relationships and the settings, but this mystery was complex and complicated, and believable, and I thought it was a great part of the book. I found particularly sad (view spoiler)[ both of the murders in this book. (hide spoiler)] Despite all the talk about religion (most of which either went over my head or I had to look up and that didn’t greatly interest me, except for the history aspect) I really liked this book. I love how there was a very unlikely dog hero. I appreciated the acknowledgments section in this book, especially the naming contest and the dog and woman involved. I always like maps in books and liked the map in front, of Walsingham, partly as it is and partly made up for this story. In all the books in this series I love the cat and dog characters. I enjoyed buddy reading this book with Hilary. We weren’t able to always read at precisely the same time but we read sections at close enough to the same time that we were able to have good email chats about them and about the book/series. Our stopping places often seemed to end up being cliffhangers, and in this book the very end is another cliffhanger. I’m glad we’ve decided to read book 9 sooner rather than later. I don’t want to catch up though and have to wait the full length of time for the next book to be published, even though I want to try this author’s other books too. I’m not longer thinking of this series book by book and comparing them with each other. I’m looking at the eight books I’ve read and the at least four books I’ve yet to read as one long story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Three and a half stars. While Cathbad, a friend of Ruth Galloway, is house-sitting in the Norfolk village of Walsingham, he sees a woman in white with a blue cloak in the graveyard. Since Wasingham is famous for pilgrimages and a fascination with the Virgin Mary, Cathbad, even though he is a druid, wonders if he has seen the Madonna. That is, until next morning when a young blonde woman is found dead just outside Walsingham dressed in a white nightgown and blue dressing gown. DCI Harry Nelson an Three and a half stars. While Cathbad, a friend of Ruth Galloway, is house-sitting in the Norfolk village of Walsingham, he sees a woman in white with a blue cloak in the graveyard. Since Wasingham is famous for pilgrimages and a fascination with the Virgin Mary, Cathbad, even though he is a druid, wonders if he has seen the Madonna. That is, until next morning when a young blonde woman is found dead just outside Walsingham dressed in a white nightgown and blue dressing gown. DCI Harry Nelson and his team are called in to investigate the murder. Ruth Galloway is brought into the situation when an old university friend Hilary who is now an Anglican priest, has been receiving anonymous and vengeful letters because of her role as a woman priest. Could the murder and the letters be linked? Then another woman, who is also an Anglican priest is murdered. Can Nelson with a little help from his team and also Ruth, find the culprit before the murderer kills again? It is because of people’s comments here on Goodreads that I decided to give this book a try. Relying mostly on libraries for my books, I often find myself coming into a series midway through. The only other one I had read of this series which I didn’t realise till later was book 5. Despite this being book 8 in the series, I found it easy enough to get into and follow what was happening. The story covers plenty of territory with archaeology, information about the medieval town, religious rites and the annual passion play, as well as the issue of women priests, which as the story shows can be polarising, plus the ongoing fluctuating relationship that exists between Ruth and Harry. Though married to Michael, Harry is the father of Ruth’s five year old daughter Kate. I had my thoughts about the murderer fairly early on and despite some red herrings along the way through the plot it never wavered. Pleased to be proved right even though I thought the motivation for the murders a bit tenuous. Though I didn’t find this a gripping edge of my seat read, I did find it an entertaining read with some quirky characters and lots of interesting tangents. I’ll be interested to read another book by this author, maybe a standalone or one from her other series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Sometimes, I think that the hardest reviews to write are for the books you most love. Trying to do justice to a favorite read, a favorite author, a favorite character and series is a tall order in a short space. So it is with the latest entry into the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Of course, I haven't read anything by Elly Griffiths that I haven't loved, and Ruth Galloway is such a special character to me, one in which I'm so emotionally invested. The Woman in Blue took my emotions to Sometimes, I think that the hardest reviews to write are for the books you most love. Trying to do justice to a favorite read, a favorite author, a favorite character and series is a tall order in a short space. So it is with the latest entry into the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Of course, I haven't read anything by Elly Griffiths that I haven't loved, and Ruth Galloway is such a special character to me, one in which I'm so emotionally invested. The Woman in Blue took my emotions to a whole new level, as it is a pivotal book in Ruth facing her own emotions and truths. I felt like both Ruth and I were wrung out by the end, except Ruth is always more composed than I. The action, and there is plenty of that along with the emotion, gets underway when a beautiful young woman is discovered strangled and left in a ditch outside of Walsingham, a Norfolk village known as "England's Nazareth" because of its shrines, medieval religious ruins, and pilgrimage site. Its connection to and sightings of the Virgin Mary enhance its Nazareth moniker, and it is the incomparable character of Cathbad, Druid friend of Ruth's, that mistakes this murdered woman as a possible vision of the Holy Mother the night before her body is found. House-sitting for a friend in Walsingham, Cathbad sees a woman in a white gown with a blue coat-like attire in the graveyard next to where he is staying, but she slips away before he can discover who or what she is. So, a bit of the other-wordly atmosphere is set up in a place where religious history and myth are the bones of the community. DCI Harry Nelson is called into investigate, and the woman is identified as a somewhat famous model who was in residence at a local drug rehabilitation center called The Sanctuary. Ruth is on a parallel course to Walsingham, as an old college friend named Hilary Smithson emails Ruth about meeting in Walsingham. Hilary, who is now an Anglican priest, is attending a course for female priests on becoming bishops. Not everyone is thrilled about Hilary and her fellow female priests being in the priesthood, and Hilary confides in Ruth about nasty, threatening letters received from an anonymous source. Religion is not Ruth's passion by any means, but she is interested in the archaeological history of Walsingham and the welfare of her friend, so Ruth agrees to read the letters. She then encourages her friend to contact the police, and, thus Nelson, the father of Ruth's five-year-old daughter becomes involved in Hilary's problem. When one of the female priests who is attending the course with Hilary is also found murdered, Nelson has to consider the possibility that the letters and the two murders are related. Ruth and Nelson find themselves once more in the thick of a case that brings them together trying to solve murder and trying to figure out their place in one another's lives. Elly Griffiths does so many things well that there's always the risk of leaving something out when talking about why her Ruth Galloway series is so special. The characters are always at the top of the list when readers praise the series. Ruth and Nelson, with their complicated relationship (after all Nelson is married and seems to want to stay that way, but does he?) is one of my favorite parts of every book. I was delighted that The Lady in Blue had both characters doing some real soul searching and some affirmation of repressed truths. Ruth's witty conversation, both to herself and others, tells us so much about this dear friend. Cathbad is just a gem of a character, and he definitely puts the cool in Druid. All the supporting cast and the newly introduced characters for this particular story have such attention to detail and development that I truly want to meet them all. Setting is another area in which Elly excels, and readers get to become ensconced in the village of Little Walsingham, as well as still enjoy the beautiful geography of Ruth's marshlands. There is something oddly peaceful about the wilds of Norfolk. Elly Griffiths seems to have a bond with the land and sea of this area that transfers beautifully to the written page. Of course, the stories in which these wonderful characters and settings exist are always suspenseful and thrilling, and as in most first-rate mysteries, time is always ticking on the page and in the reader's mind. I received an ARC of The Woman in Blue, which was greatly appreciated, as the book doesn't come out in the U.S. until May 3rd. It is, however, already published in the UK if readers can't wait, and so many fans of this series just can't. I have loved all the books in the Ruth Galloway series, but I will have to admit that this new one is a favorite amongst favorites. It checked all the boxes for me. Thank you Elly Griffiths for once again providing such great writing for all to read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christine PNW

    I binge read the final three books in the series (to date) over the weekend. I liked this one a lot - I really enjoyed the mystery. I think that Outcast Dead was my favorite of the three, and this one came in second place. The Ghost Fields was my least favorite. I really enjoyed the group of women priests that Griffiths brought into this mystery, and I hope that we will have a chance to see Hilary again, although I suspect she might be a one-off. I am sort of tired of all of the gorgeous, shallow I binge read the final three books in the series (to date) over the weekend. I liked this one a lot - I really enjoyed the mystery. I think that Outcast Dead was my favorite of the three, and this one came in second place. The Ghost Fields was my least favorite. I really enjoyed the group of women priests that Griffiths brought into this mystery, and I hope that we will have a chance to see Hilary again, although I suspect she might be a one-off. I am sort of tired of all of the gorgeous, shallow women in this series, though. There was some earth-shaking revelations in this book, so I'm hopeful that we are moving towards a resolution in the relationship triangle. I remain tired of Nelson bouncing between Ruth and Michelle. I'd frankly like to see both of them dump him, but I understand that his continued involvement is necessary to move the series forward.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    This is book #8 in the Ruth Galloway series and life in and near Norfolk continues. In the beginning of this novel, Cathbad is house-sitting and cat-sitting at a friend'a cottage in Walsingham. Cathbad is chasing after the cat as it manages to slip out an open window, when Cathbad notices a beautiful young woman in blue in the graveyard next to the cottage. Who is she and what is she doing out late at night or is this one of Cathbad's visions and the woman is a sighting of the Virgin Mary which This is book #8 in the Ruth Galloway series and life in and near Norfolk continues. In the beginning of this novel, Cathbad is house-sitting and cat-sitting at a friend'a cottage in Walsingham. Cathbad is chasing after the cat as it manages to slip out an open window, when Cathbad notices a beautiful young woman in blue in the graveyard next to the cottage. Who is she and what is she doing out late at night or is this one of Cathbad's visions and the woman is a sighting of the Virgin Mary which Walsingham is known for with its religious pilgrims. Sadly, a young woman's body is discovered beginning an investigation with DCI Nelson and his squad. Ruth Galloway becomes involved when insight into the historical and religious aspects of Walsingham is needed as the investigation and crimes begin to increase. Another wonderful installment in the series which continues not only the mysteries of the area with its religious and historical background but also the mysteries of the characters' relationships. Recommend if you are a follower of the series. I genuinely enjoy this newest one. Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This continues to be one of my favorite series and Ruth Galloway and her cohorts some of my favorite characters. Griffiths writes mysteries that combine interesting, varied and imperfect people, a setting that can be both beautiful and occasionally wild, and touches of the ancient and or medieval for archaeological interest. This has been another great entry in the series, with many personal and interpersonal developments alongside the development and solving of the mystery itself. As always, I This continues to be one of my favorite series and Ruth Galloway and her cohorts some of my favorite characters. Griffiths writes mysteries that combine interesting, varied and imperfect people, a setting that can be both beautiful and occasionally wild, and touches of the ancient and or medieval for archaeological interest. This has been another great entry in the series, with many personal and interpersonal developments alongside the development and solving of the mystery itself. As always, I will leave it to others to give plot details, but they do hold up, and they also support the continued development of the primary characters in the continuing story. I continue to recommend the series which is best read from the beginning.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    I couldn't get into this book so I challenged myself to write a one paragraph review.  Pros:  Once again Griffiths has incorporated interesting historical detail of England, this time including religious background focusing on an interesting art movement of which I was unfamiliar - the Madonna Lactans:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing....  The book is set in Walsingham, England, a medieval town known for  its Catholic/Anglican roots, pilgrimages and Passion plays.  Once again there is a pa I couldn't get into this book so I challenged myself to write a one paragraph review.  Pros:  Once again Griffiths has incorporated interesting historical detail of England, this time including religious background focusing on an interesting art movement of which I was unfamiliar - the Madonna Lactans:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nursing....  The book is set in Walsingham, England, a medieval town known for  its Catholic/Anglican roots, pilgrimages and Passion plays.  Once again there is a page-turning chase scene and exciting climax.  The secondary characters are well drawn and engaging.  Cons:  Other than one major reveal to one of the major characters, the characters whom we follow, our Galloway/Nelson extended family, are muted; I missed them.  Although the ending was exciting, and while I am not good at guessing villains, this villain's motive seemed far-fetched and I was also thrown off by the villain's occupation.  Of course, this happens in real life as well, with the criminal being the law enforcement officer, the boys' and girls' coach, the religious mentor, etc., so I guess this could also be a plus.  Overall three stars for interesting history, great major and secondary characters and page-turning chase scene and climax.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5 stars. I enjoyed the first half of this book much more than the second half. I'm still enjoying the series, but I'm much more interested in the characters' lives than in the mystery itself. This one had a more interesting mystery than many in this series, but I didn't have the audiobook, which means it took me forever to read it, and I only ever read it for short periods of time. I think that was part of the reason I didn't enjoy this one as much. I will continue on with the series but I'm n 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the first half of this book much more than the second half. I'm still enjoying the series, but I'm much more interested in the characters' lives than in the mystery itself. This one had a more interesting mystery than many in this series, but I didn't have the audiobook, which means it took me forever to read it, and I only ever read it for short periods of time. I think that was part of the reason I didn't enjoy this one as much. I will continue on with the series but I'm not necessarily feeling it's getting better as it goes at this point. Maybe that will change.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Primrose Jess

    The matter of fact and to the point writing style of Elly Griffiths is uniquely hers; I haven't encountered another author that can tell a story in the manner Griffiths can. I hate to call Ruth Galloway reliable, but well, to me she is. Ruth consistently shows loyalty to her friends, a dislike for crowds, self deprecates far too often, underestimates her intelligence, and will surprise us when she does something a bit out of the ordinary..like attend an Anglican Easter pageant when she's an adm The matter of fact and to the point writing style of Elly Griffiths is uniquely hers; I haven't encountered another author that can tell a story in the manner Griffiths can. I hate to call Ruth Galloway reliable, but well, to me she is. Ruth consistently shows loyalty to her friends, a dislike for crowds, self deprecates far too often, underestimates her intelligence, and will surprise us when she does something a bit out of the ordinary..like attend an Anglican Easter pageant when she's an admitted atheist. I love this series and eagerly look forward to each addition to it. Nelson's gruffness and avoidance of serious conversations such as his adultery, his wife's adultery, and his true feelings for Ruth play a role in this book; but it is a minor one. As always the dead take precedence. Reader favorite, druid priest Cathbad, is cat sitting in Little Walsingham. It is a religious place for many people. He doesn't think too much of it when he sees a mysterious lady in white with a blue cape walking the cemetery in the late hours of the evening; maybe he was one of the fortunate to capture a glimpse of the Virgin Mary. However, a woman's body is discovered the next morning and Cathbad may be the last person to see her alive. DCI Harry Nelson, Clough, and Tim are all on the scene trying to piece together what happened to the woman in blue who just so happens to be a high profile young model. A young model who happens to be a patient at the local rehab facility. Media attention means the Superintendent's attention and the killer must be found. A former colleague of Ruth's contacts her with a troubling problem. Hilary is now a female Anglican priest and working towards an appointment as a bishop. She receives threatening letters against her position as a female priest. These letters quickly escalate to a murder of a fellow female priest. As Ruth begins to delve deeper into these letters, she realizes that her and Nelson's cases may have a common murderer. Stellar read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I wait eagerly each year for the new Ruth Galloway book to be published. It is my favorite series. The characters are in part what draws me in. The characters have grown and developed over the past books. I have grown to care for them and want to know what is going on currently in their lives. The books have a sense of place and can be atmospheric. The mystery is always good and I didn't have it solved until the author decided to divulge it. I don't know what will happen to Ruth and Nelson's rela I wait eagerly each year for the new Ruth Galloway book to be published. It is my favorite series. The characters are in part what draws me in. The characters have grown and developed over the past books. I have grown to care for them and want to know what is going on currently in their lives. The books have a sense of place and can be atmospheric. The mystery is always good and I didn't have it solved until the author decided to divulge it. I don't know what will happen to Ruth and Nelson's relationship (if anything) This is a series that should be read in order to know the history of the characters and their back stories. Of course Ruth is the main draw. I like her sense of humor and independence. As a reader, I want the best for her or what would make her happy. I am not so sure though that she knows what that would be either. The one drawback is now the book is finished and I have to wait another year for the next book. I love this series!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    I found the storyline in this book weaker. I also felt tired of Ruth preconceptions and judgments at everyone who has religious beliefs. I understand events in her upbringing made her sensitive to these topics, but it is just tiresome after 8 books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Time to say goodbye... Cat-sitting for a friend in Walsingham, one night Cathbad sees a woman in a blue robe standing in the graveyard behind the house. Being a druid with mystical tendencies, Cathbad thinks he's had some kind of vision – until the next day the body of a young woman in night clothes and a blue dressing gown is found in a ditch. Harry Nelson and his team quickly discover she was a patient at a nearby rehab clinic and so their investigation is focused there. But then another murder Time to say goodbye... Cat-sitting for a friend in Walsingham, one night Cathbad sees a woman in a blue robe standing in the graveyard behind the house. Being a druid with mystical tendencies, Cathbad thinks he's had some kind of vision – until the next day the body of a young woman in night clothes and a blue dressing gown is found in a ditch. Harry Nelson and his team quickly discover she was a patient at a nearby rehab clinic and so their investigation is focused there. But then another murder takes place, this time of a woman priest attending a conference in the town. The two crimes have enough in common for Nelson to suspect that they are linked... The Ghost Fields, Ruth Galloway's last outing, left me disappointed and thinking that it was time for Griffiths to draw this series to a close. However, since the series has always been variable, some excellent, some pretty poor, I decided to stick around for one more book, to see whether Griffiths could find her old form. And there's no doubt that the plot of this one is a considerable step-up from the last one. There is, at least, a mystery in this and some actual detective work. However, all the usual problems remain. Firstly, it's still written in third person present tense, and somehow it feels clunkier with every book. The ancient off-off non-love non-affair between Ruth and Nelson rumbles on, going nowhere as always. I spent a lot of time wondering what on earth either Ruth or Nelson's wife could see in this rather neanderthal, bad-tempered, somewhat obnoxious man – nope, it's a mystery! (In fact, Ruth herself is constantly objecting to his macho, hectoring style – what exactly is it about him that she's supposed to love?) I know some people like this aspect of the books, but I've been hoping that Ruth would move on for about five books now – she seems increasingly pathetic as time goes on, a middle-aged woman constantly hankering after someone else's husband. The major problem is that there is a limit to how many police investigations credibly require help from an archaeologist. In this one, Griffiths makes no real attempt to bring Ruth in officially. Instead, one of the women priests attending the conference just happens to be an old friend of Ruth's so, when she starts receiving threatening letters, of course she takes them to Ruth. Well, if you were being threatened, of course you'd go to an archaeologist you knew vaguely from University decades ago rather than to the police, wouldn't you? You wouldn't? No, neither would I. With Walsingham having a long history as a site of pilgrimage, there is a lot about religion in the book, Christianity in general and more specifically Anglo-Catholicism. Griffiths writes about religion as if it's an odd thing to see priests or nuns on British streets – we may not be the most ultra-religious country in the world, but she makes it sound about as unlikely as seeing witchdoctors or aliens. Ruth is a hardened atheist, but from a very religious family, while Nelson was brought up by a strict Catholic mother, and yet neither of them seems to know basic things about Christian practices or history. The plot is actually quite intriguing for most of the book, and when it concentrates on the murders and investigation it's an enjoyable read. However, Griffiths then throws it all away at the end by making the whole dénouement dependant on a couple of the characters having sudden flashes of inspiration at just the right moment, based on absolutely nothing. And when all is explained, the whole thing is not just highly unlikely but pretty silly. So, people who enjoy the ongoing Ruth-Nelson saga will probably enjoy this, but for me this series is well past its sell-by date, I'm afraid. I can only hope that Griffiths decides to concentrate on her new, excellent, Stephens and Mephisto series instead, sends Nelson back to his poor wife (though does she deserve that?) and lets Ruth retreat to academia where she belongs. NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Quercus. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    One of the greatest pleasures for me this year has been immersing myself in the adventures of Dr. Ruth Galloway, DCI Harry Nelson and their various friends, lovers and colleagues. This, the eighth book in this enthralling series, is certainly no exception. I was especially pleased to see this one is centered in the ancient town and pilgrimage site of Walsingham in north Norfolk. I remember visiting Walsingham several years ago and, despite having much of historic interest, found it to be somewhat One of the greatest pleasures for me this year has been immersing myself in the adventures of Dr. Ruth Galloway, DCI Harry Nelson and their various friends, lovers and colleagues. This, the eighth book in this enthralling series, is certainly no exception. I was especially pleased to see this one is centered in the ancient town and pilgrimage site of Walsingham in north Norfolk. I remember visiting Walsingham several years ago and, despite having much of historic interest, found it to be somewhat creepy and tacky. A feeling, I'm glad to see, that Ruth shares. Thankfully, during my brief visit, no-one was murdered. In this novel Nelson has to find the killer of two women. Two women who no only bear a physical resemblance to each other, but also to his wife Michelle. As in the earlier novels, there is a thrilling and unusual finale; this time taking place during a Passion Play in the grounds of the Abbey. Also, despite all the murder and mayhem, we are still frequently treated to examples of the author's trademark humour; especially when Cathbad or animals are involved.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    Let me start with the positives. A well written novel, that has some strong characters and a decent plot. However I am sad to say that the rest of it left me feeling more than a little disappointed, in fact it is not the first Elly Griffiths book where I have found the description did not live up to the anticipation. A young woman is found dead near Walsingham in Norfolk. She is wearing a white nightdress, a blue dressing gown and slippers and is thought to be a vision of the virgin Mary. In fact Let me start with the positives. A well written novel, that has some strong characters and a decent plot. However I am sad to say that the rest of it left me feeling more than a little disappointed, in fact it is not the first Elly Griffiths book where I have found the description did not live up to the anticipation. A young woman is found dead near Walsingham in Norfolk. She is wearing a white nightdress, a blue dressing gown and slippers and is thought to be a vision of the virgin Mary. In fact she is found to be a patient at the Sanctuary, a close by clinic. This is the 8th book in the Ruth Galloway series and can easily be read as a stand alone but sadly for me I did not ever feel fondness for this novel. I would like to thank Net Galley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for supplying a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    For her (and my) eighth Ruth Galloway book, Griffiths sticks with a familiar formula which has served her well up to now and at this stage, I’m hardly going to say I hate it. The mystery plot line of The Woman in Blue surrounds Nelson and Ruth needing to solve the strangulation murder of a young girl. Ruth is linked this time when an old friend contacts her after receiving a series of threatening letters. It’s assumed that the letter writer and the murderer are the same person. There isn’t as mu For her (and my) eighth Ruth Galloway book, Griffiths sticks with a familiar formula which has served her well up to now and at this stage, I’m hardly going to say I hate it. The mystery plot line of The Woman in Blue surrounds Nelson and Ruth needing to solve the strangulation murder of a young girl. Ruth is linked this time when an old friend contacts her after receiving a series of threatening letters. It’s assumed that the letter writer and the murderer are the same person. There isn’t as much archaeology in this installment. Ruth doesn’t dig up any bones but she does do some research into the findings of a past dig. History plays its part still in the shape of religious persecution, customs and ceremonies. I love the way Griffiths handled the religious aspect of the plot and how she juggled various characters’ beliefs tactfully. Some of the stupidity of religion is pointed out (as any fan of this series knows, Ruth is an atheist) but she balances it nicely with some positive aspects of those who choose to worship God (it’s pretty much just Christianity that’s covered). There’s also a solid vein of feminism running throughout the book. Griffiths nicely highlights that women often need to be stronger than men and often they prove to be just that in The Woman in Blue. Although there was one heart in my throat moment, there was nothing really groundbreaking about the mystery. In fact, the guilty party's motives were weak at best. Of course, I’m not still reading just for the mystery plot. I adore Ruth and Nelson. I love the way he is always putting his foot in it where she is concerned. With the exception of Tim, I’m also a fan of all the other supporting characters (even Phil!). I was a little disappointed by their lack of involvement this time. Particularly Judy, Cathbad and Cloughy didn’t feature quite as much as they have in the past. Ruth’s daughter, Kate, too has limited scenes compared to some of the other books in the series. (Although, Cathbad does get some hilarious scenes with a cat in the beginning.) I often liken these books to a soap opera and it’s a label that’s fitting because I could read an entire book focused exclusively on the characters’ private lives quite easily. I just can’t wait to find out how Griffiths is going to make them behave next. As usual, she resolved nothing with Ruth and Nelson and left me on a cliffhanger. *sigh* I still say the books in this series shouldn’t be read as standalones but if I had to choose one that could perhaps fall into that category, it would be this one. Maybe it’s the aforementioned lack of scenes with the regular supporting characters but it does feel like a reader could appreciate this one without reading its predecessors more than the last couple I read. 5 out of 5 for the diehard fans as myself.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    This next book in the Ruth Galloway series contined to be just as enjoyable as the rest. Read as a buddy read with Lisa Vegan, we read around 50 pages a day and then discussed after. This is a wonderful series to buddy read with so much to think about and really fun to swap ideas about who the culprit was and why. I greatly enjoyed the mystery in this book, it kept both of us guessing who and why right up until the end. Just about all the new characters were suspicious so I was glad it wasn't to This next book in the Ruth Galloway series contined to be just as enjoyable as the rest. Read as a buddy read with Lisa Vegan, we read around 50 pages a day and then discussed after. This is a wonderful series to buddy read with so much to think about and really fun to swap ideas about who the culprit was and why. I greatly enjoyed the mystery in this book, it kept both of us guessing who and why right up until the end. Just about all the new characters were suspicious so I was glad it wasn't too obvious or easily solved. The setting of Walsingham was particularly interesting to me as I know the area and I did enjoy the religious parts of the storyline to my surprise, I found it both interesting from a historical point of view and fascinating to look into the world of priests, the controversy of female vicars and how Walsingham has become a centre for religion in a modern way, retreats, shops for new robes, surplices etc. In places this reminded me of Father Ted and this book, like the others in the series has a lovely sense of humour. The new characters were interesting, I liked Larry and Daisy and it was refreshing go see a stay at home mum portrayed in a positive way. There were some great animal characters and an interesting afterword about this. The soap opera storylines do continue in this book and this does look(view spoiler)[ like the situation will continue, another character is revealed to have had a love child but in this case it is probably quite realistic and understandable given the circumstances (hide spoiler)] I do find the descriptions of Michelle slightly irritating, surely she must have some other interests or plus points to her personality than hair, make up, clothes and going to the gym? I do find the characters are described in a polarised way. Ruth eating endless meat and carbs, there must be hundreds of sentences about Ruth pouring glasses of wine. There are so many descriptions of Michelle being beautiful. I would like to see the characters vary a bit more. Surely Michelle could be credited with doing something other than hairdressing or having Nelson's tea on the table. But that's a minor downside for me, I do enjoy these characters immensely and I am glad there are more books in the series as it's always good to come back to these people and to enjoy another look into their lives.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have been following this fantastic series since the first installment. It has gotten to the point that I am almost as interested to see what is going on in the characters’ lives as I am in the current mystery. This particular installment focuses mainly on Nelson and Ruth, whose relationship is getting even more complicated. I must say that anyone thinking of reading this book should c I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have been following this fantastic series since the first installment. It has gotten to the point that I am almost as interested to see what is going on in the characters’ lives as I am in the current mystery. This particular installment focuses mainly on Nelson and Ruth, whose relationship is getting even more complicated. I must say that anyone thinking of reading this book should certainly buy it, but get the rest of the series and read it in order. While the individual mysteries are stand-alone stories, the underlying drama of the characters and their lives is really half the fun and you would miss that if you read them out of order. Also, the books sometimes contain spoilers for the earlier stories. The Woman in Blue deals with a series of murders connected with Easter celebrations in a small town that was once a Catholic stronghold until the churches were confiscated by Henry VIII—which apparently still rankles and shapes the collective consciousness. The Catholic and Anglican traditions meld so that even pagans and non-believers get caught up in the pageantry but there is always an undercurrent of tension and there are whispers of a curse placed centuries ago by the displaced medieval monks. With religious fervor sometimes comes obsessions and resistance to change, sometimes violent resistance. And sometimes murder. 4 stars. I wanted more archeology. And more Cathbad. What this story needs is more Cathbad. (My apologies to Christopher Walken.)

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