The House at Sea’s End – Elly Griffiths

I’ve been reading quite slowly recently, so I haven’t been able to get as many reviews out. Its also nearly Christmas (!!!!!!!!!!) so I have been busy with family and friends etc. However I am hoping to get at least one more review out -after this one- before the new year, as well as some other bookish posts.

The House at Seas End is the third in the Ruth Galloway crime novel collection. They follow Ruth, a keen archaeologist who enjoys to be in her own company. Throughout all 3 I have read so far, she becomes tangled within a crime investigation, lead by DCI Nelson. Using Ruth’s knowledge of archaeology, secrets are unearthed from both the past and present.

All of Elly Griffith’s books that I’ve read have come with a haze of light-heartedness skulking around a far more sinister plot. The characters within it are beguiling and have an aura of relatability floating around them. Ruth herself is at times a funny character, and is a comforting protagonist. Within the 3 books things have made me smile and other things have caused me to shudder. Its certainly not an outstanding book, but with a character that is as raw and relatable as Ruth, struggling with everyday activities and thoughts, it proves very enjoyable to read.

The writing itself is very calm and collected. The entire plot, while being thrown in many different directions does present itself as very organised. I rarely found it hard to follow and nothing really felt too out of place. It had a very set structure, something which after reading the other books it can be found as extremely repetitive, as they all seem to follow a similar plot line. Nothing about this book particularly stands out, and that’s the issue I found with it. Most of my favourite books contain small purposeful imperfections that really make it for me. It doesn’t challenge the genre or do anything different to other crime novels.

Additionally, some of the clues and evidence collected by the characters were a bit predictable. I had figured out one of the codes before it was revealed, which did make me feel very accomplished and like a detective queen. I won’t deny it did go to my head just a little bit, and I am considering potentially joining the police force now that I have proven myself worthy of a position in the top squad 😉 I’m not sure if it was done purposefully to make the reader feel more immersed in the story, but I just found it dreadfully annoying. Unless I truly am some kind of detective mastermind (which would be a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge stretch) then I’m sure that many people had a similar issue.

I find that I want my murder-mystery novels in the end to make me go “oh! I should have guessed that” not “that is completely ridiculous”and while the ending of this book wasn’t ridiculous, and was actually quite well thought out, it lacked essential things that I had loved so much about the first Ruth Galloway book. I loved the clues that were littered throughout, and the little things that you don’t even view as incriminating evidence until the killer has been revealed. This book just didn’t have that for me.

Overall I was disappointed in the story. I felt similarly about the 2nd in the series, but at the time I was still impressed by the first one, so I overlooked it. All that being said, I am still going to continue reading the series. While I found the plot to be a big downfall, the characters just keep pulling me back. Something just compels me to keep reading, and I can’t help but care for these fictional people. I doubt anybody who reads this will be blown away, but its a comfortable little read.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Merry Christmas!

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