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A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  5,803 Ratings  ·  520 Reviews
It is Halloween night, and the local museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event - the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum's curator lying dead beside the coffin. It is only a matter of time before she and DI Nelson cross paths once more, as he is called in to investiga ...more
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published December 21st 2011 by Quercus
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Mar 07, 2016 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book in the Ruth Galloway series. It felt to me like this is the weakest so far. The first half of the book includes much discussion of the exploration of Australia, the ravaging of Aboriginal holy relics, and efforts for the repatriation of human remains. I think this was just sort of interesting, too long, and delayed the "meat" of the book. The pace eventually picks up in the second half when the owner of a museum and horse racing stable dies, Nelson falls deathly ill, Ruth ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Daenerys rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who don't know a thing about forensic archaeology
Shelves: thriller
Well, Elly Griffiths, this is starting to be really repetitive.
Ruth is depressed and overweight and she doesn't feel she's a good mother and she loves the depressing saltmarsh where she lives and she likes her job and blah blah. Yes, we get it.
Nelson is a tough working-class northern guy, and blah blah blah. We get that too, we heard it all before (about three times in three other books, in fact) with exactly the same words you used in this book. If you can't find an original way to give infor
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
I have read and enjoyed the first three books in this series by Elly Griffiths, about forensic archeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. But this one was a disappointment. The storyline is ridiculous, the characters are stereotypes who behave in the silliest of ways, the writing is clunky and the pace is sluggish. It simply doesn't live up to its predecessors. If you're wondering if you need to have read the other books in the series, the answer is no: however if you haven't read them, they're better books ...more
Oct 05, 2015 F.R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Once again, it obviously doesn’t require much brain power to realise that if you are going to dip your toes into a series of crime novels about archaeologist, Ruth Galloway, number four isn’t the best place to start. Oh well, it was the one the library had and so here we are. Actually the adventures of Ruth, her druid friend, Cathbad, and her one time lover, DCI Harry Nelson (the former two seem, bizarrely, to be involved in all the latter’s cases) read more like a soap-opera than crime fiction. ...more
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths.

This, in my opinion, was a riveting smash hit. The best entry in this marvelous series.

A coffin containing the remains of Bishop Augustine Smith is being moved into the Smith Museum from its original burial place outside the walls of St. Mary's Church. In the past the Bishop was thought to have been buried inside Norwich Cathedral. Lord Danforth Smith couldn't be more pleased to welcome his long deceased ancestor to his museum but it seems he is alone with
I'm always pleased to hear that another Elly Griffiths novel is on its way and no less this time. The mystery was a little different in this outing, with Ruth, the forensic archaeologist, more removed from the central action than in prior books. But she is very involved with the central characters and these novels are as much about the characters as the mystery.

The story involves a small, local museum and the planned opening of a recently unearthed casket of a medieval bishop. Moving on from thi
Susan Johnson
Jun 18, 2014 Susan Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this series. Ruth is such an unique character and her supporting characters are interesting in their own right. This one does not really involve Ruth's skills as a forensic archeologist but two different mysteries twine themselves throughout the story. Kate, Ruth's daughter, is one now and is starting to develop a personality.

The story involves a misplaced casket of a medieval bishop who has some surprising secrets. These secrets push Nelson and Ruth to a new dimension in their r
John Wiltshire
Aug 17, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up-on
I'm getting increasingly irritated with this series. I was lying awake last night trying to work out why and it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the author never actually intended it to be a series. The first book had something a bit special with interesting characters and a strong sense of place. But then the second book didn't progress anything from that, nor the third...This is the fourth now, and if I read one more time about the wood henge on the Saltmarsh being moved, or Cathbad protes ...more
Cathy Cole
May 18, 2012 Cathy Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First Line: The coffin is definitely a health and safety hazard.

The coffin in question belongs to a medieval bishop named Augustine who is dug up when the site of his burial is scheduled to be turned into a huge grocery store. Despite all the warnings Augustine gave about leaving his remains alone, a small "unveiling" is scheduled in the Smith Museum, presently owned by one of Augustine's descendants. Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway has been asked to preside over the opening of the coff
First Sentence: The coffin is definitely a health and safety hazard.

Professor and forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway arrives at a family-owned museum to supervise the opening of the family’s ancestor, a medieval bishop. Instead, she finds the body of the museum curator dead of an apparent heart attack. His death is followed by that of the Museum owner and owner of a horse-training stable, who had received threatening letters regarding the repatriation of Aboriginal skulls to an Australian repre
Rachel Hall
Aug 23, 2016 Rachel Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This fourth book in the Dr Ruth Galloway series is once again a hugely satisfying affair which manages to combine a well constructed mystery with another slice of personal drama in the lives of the quirky cast who surround our forensic archaeologist. Despite the third novel ending with a cliffhanger, A Room Full of Bones starts with a typically humorous episode as Ruth rushes round the King's Lynn branch of Somerfield frantically shopping for Kate's first birthday party the following day. She ha ...more
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
Published 2012, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Stars: (3.5)
Review also posted at: Slapdash & Sundry

3.5 stars

I'm having a hard time deciding just what to rate this between 3 and 4 stars, so I'm going to settle on 3.5 stars.

Storywise, I feel like it was a pretty week entry in the series. There were a LOT of plot strings in this one, and while it's nice that they all didn't end up being the same culprit/storyline, they made for a tangled mess at certain points.
Jan 18, 2013 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, england
This latest in the Ruth Galloway mystery series started out okay but then fizzled out. I think the worst part was when all sense was abandoned and one drug tripping hippie type entered the dreams of a friend who was lying in hospital close to dying from a deadly spore he inhaled while standing too near a coffin being opened after a few hundred years. Really? I have been waiting for the series to offer up a little more forensics archeology (that's what the main character supposedly does for a liv ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read my full review:

My opinion: Lovers of Kathy Reich's will enjoy this British archaeologist who gets into as much trouble as Temperance Brennan, but is much more approachable and imperfect than her American counterpart.

In general, I feel that the writing of Ms. Griffiths is much more approachable than Ms. Reich's current releases. The books still have the feeling of being fresh and the characters not worn out. Furthermore, I enjoy the characters of this book. As stated pr
Jun 21, 2012 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Room Full Of Bones
Elly Griffths

My " in a nutshell" summary...

Ruth, Kate, Nelson...are not allowed to see each other. Nelson and Ruth are sort of involved due to the nature of the crime...Ruth is doing her best to raise Kate without any visits or help from Nelson...who is Kate's father. In this's all about the bones and heads and Aboriginal skulls that are not where they belong.

My thoughts after reading this book...

That above summary sounds confusing...doesn't it...but the thing
Jul 16, 2012 Larraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of years ago, I picked up the inaugural book in this series, The Crossing Series, for our local library adult reading group. The series features Ruth Galloway, an overweight, introverted forensic anthropologist and archaeology teacher at a local university. The series is set in a seaside area not far from Brighton. This is the fourth book in the series. Ruth will soon be celebrating Kate's birthday. Kate is nearly a year old now and, of course, has changed Ruth's life completely. Kate i ...more
Another in the Ruth Galloway series and as you can see from the 3 stars, not my favorite. But still, any Ruth Galloway mystery is far and above better than most mystery series so I'll take it.
Sep 19, 2015 Evelina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Griffiths serie om Ruth blir bara bättre och bättre. Jag älskar karaktärerna och den komplicerade relationen mellan Ruth och Nelson. Tycker också om sättet som Elly Griffiths skriver på. Länk till recensionen:
Marsha Hubbell
Aug 11, 2016 Marsha Hubbell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“A Room Full of Bones” is the fourth installment of the successful Ruth Galloway Mystery series by Elly Griffiths. Familiar characters return to solve this latest crime – that of a medieval coffin found at a construction site. Mysterious deaths follow, and once again forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, and their druid friend Cathbad must follow the clues in this complex tale.

The story picks up at the dramatic conclusion of the third book, so it’s difficul
Sep 08, 2016 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't get much sleep the night I started reading this. In spite of needing rest, I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen and keep reaching for my Kindle. I've read the preceding three books in the series and like them all, but this is my favorite. The subject matter of repatriation of bones held by private museums is not just timely, but raises issues about the value we place on other human beings. The subplot around animal rights puts another layer on the discussion. Elly Griffi ...more
Michele Benson
Feb 13, 2015 Michele Benson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has everything you want to know about elginists (people who want their ancestors remains returned to their land of origin) and a really great aboriginal shaman. Also for you infectious disease experts their is a fun twist at the end with some pretty nasty mold spores. Ruth is fabulous as always and Kate (not Katie) turns one year old! That is 3 murders in her little English town since her conception. I think that is a fairly dangerous place to be bringing up a toddler. Thank goodness C ...more
Feb 24, 2014 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This is definitely not the best book of the series at all. I found the constant references to the previous stories quite tedious. If you have read them all, as I have, then it's very repetitive in the extreme and seems to take a large portion of this book up because of it.

I did find some of the plot quite implausible but on the whole I did like it but not enough to give it more than a three star rating.

I just love Cathbad and I hope he stays in Elly's next books as he is a really interesting c
Maggie Holmes
Mar 16, 2016 Maggie Holmes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elly Griffiths' mysteries are my current "book candy." I can't put them down and I get a craving for them even if I'm reading something else. This is the 4th book in the series and the usual characters are doing their unpredictable activities. I really like that she doesn't start the books right after the last one finished. Something will have happened in between that she has to catch you up on. I'm not sure I know what to think about Cathbad and the mysticism, but I don't let it spoil the story ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Breia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually enjoyed the Ruth/Nelson/Max sub plots more than the main story but I am really enjoying this setting and Ruth's strong character. On to book #5!
Jemima Pett
May 23, 2016 Jemima Pett rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth book in the Ruth Galloway mysteries, and I saw some reviewers found it either difficult to keep track of all these characters or they didn’t want so much back story referring to the previous volumes they’d read. So I guess the author got it more or less right. I was happy with the characters and their backstory, but I imagine I’d be struggling if I’d left longer between them, like some other series I’ve mentioned recently!

This time there isn’t so much archaeology in the story,
Sep 28, 2015 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book in Elly Griffiths' series featuring Ruth Galloway, a Forensic archaeologist. She lives on a salt marsh in England with her one-year-old daughter. Ruth is self sufficient, but lapsed after a terrifying incident where she was almost killed. She and the police detective had sex one time afterwards that resulted in her daughter being born. At first, DCI Harry Nelson tries to be a father to Kate, but at her christening, his wife Michelle realizes that Kate is Harry's daughter ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
I am going to go with 3 1/2 stars because I like the series so much.

This is the fourth in a series and I have read them all, more or less in order. I read #3 first and then went back to catch up. The stories build off of each other, the characters develop, and key events from prior novels are mentioned so it is best to read them in order to avoid spoilers and get the full enjoyment.

I am a huge fan of this series and I recommend it highly to people who enjoy light mysteries with a good bit of hum
Dana Burgess
Sep 09, 2012 Dana Burgess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Room Full of Bones is the second of Elly Griffiths’ books that I have read. She is one of the exceptions to my personal reading rules – I don’t read British authors and I don’t read books that feature the same protagonist across several volumes. I DO read and thoroughly enjoy British author, Elly Griffiths, ‘Ruth Galloway mysteries’. So what makes these books worth the deviation?
1) Ruth Galloway. She is overweight, down to earth, unassuming, intelligent, insecure, fabulous… I could go on. I lo
Jun 10, 2012 J.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
When forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway arrives early at a museum for the opening of the coffin of a medieval bishop, she finds the body of the curator. The death appears to be natural causes, but the police are called in to be sure.

Detective Inspector Harry Nelson, the married father of Ruth’s one-year-old daughter, arrives and, as might be expected from the state of their relationship at the end of the previous book in the series, the encounter proves awkward.

Nelson, who is in the midst of a
Mar 30, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimepieces
A Room Full of Bones is the fourth book by Elly Griffiths featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and Norfolk Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson. Griffiths manages to leave the end of each book, if not on a cliffhanger, with enough suspense that you are always keen to see what happens next. The last book The House at Sea’s End had Michelle, the glamorous wife of DCI Harry Nelson beginning to suspect that Ruth’s infant daughter with an unnamed father is her husband’s child. However ...more
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Has the series improved.. 1 23 Jul 06, 2014 09:18AM  
  • Red Bones (Shetland Island, #3)
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • The Betrayal of Trust (Simon Serrailler, #6)
  • Death Wore White (DI Peter Shaw & DS George Valentine #1)
  • Like This, For Ever (Lacey Flint, #3)
  • Dead Scared (Lacey Flint, #2)
  • The Sound of Broken Glass (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #15)
  • Cambridge Blue (DC Gary Goodhew Mystery #1)
  • Complication
  • Island of Bones (Crowther and Westerman, #3)
  • Plunder (Faye Longchamp, #7)
  • I Shall Not Want (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #6)
Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly's husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece's head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton. Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places is her first crime novel.

More about Elly Griffiths...

Other Books in the Series

Ruth Galloway (9 books)
  • The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1)
  • The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway, #2)
  • The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway, #3)
  • A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway, #5)
  • The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)
  • The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway, #7)
  • The Woman in Blue (Ruth Galloway, #8)
  • The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway, #9)

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