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A Room Full of Bones

(Ruth Galloway #4)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  11,453 ratings  ·  826 reviews
Combine a splash of Alan Bradley with a pinch of Kathy Reichs and you have a gripping new Ruth Galloway Mystery -- a good-hearted mystery series with a dark edge.
Set in Norfolk, England, A Room Full of Bones embroils, once again, our brainy heroine in a crime tinged by occult forces. On Halloween night, the Smith Museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event --
Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by McClelland & Stewart (first published December 21st 2011)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,453 ratings  ·  826 reviews

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Nov 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was great to read an enjoyable story after reading some books I didn't like much.
Ruth is not a detective but a forensic archeologist, so you get the story from a different angle. I skipped no. 3 in the series by accident, so that's what I'm going to read now.
Feb 25, 2016 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
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
There’s a formula (or balance) in my favorite mystery series— something like 70-80% mystery/crime threads to about 20-30% main sleuth/ regular character development. So based on that, this entry in the wonderful Dr Ruth Galloway series would only rate three stars because the mystery is barely 50% of the story.

But that’s okay because this book concentrates on the personal lives of Ruth and her friends. This book feels like a major turning point in the Galloway/Nelson relationship. And it’s really
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
Tanja Berg
I don’t know what to make of the crimes presented in this book. They are contrived at best. There is also som aboriginal spiritual issues going on, due to some bones kept in a private collection. Too many different directions all at once.

What I do enjoy, tremendously, is the permanent cast of characters. Particularly Ruth the archeologist and protagonist. That is why I keep returning to the series. I will continue to do so, and hope that the plotting gets better eventually.
Rachel Hall
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 30, 2015 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
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Griffiths is killing me.

This is the fourth in the Ruth Galloway series, a series which I have come to love.

A Room Full of Bones is probably the strongest in the series thus far when it comes to the mystery plot.  It introduces quite a lot of interesting crime/mystery aspects, all seemingly unrelated until Griffiths quite cleverly weaves them together. 

Ruth is asked to attend the opening of a recently discovered Bishop's coffin. When she gets to the museum holding the event, however, she finds th
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was not a thriller per se but it was a welcome reconnection with old friends. Ruth Galloway the forensic archaeologist, DCI Nelson with whom she has a complicated relationship and a daughter, his sidekick Clough and the inimitable Cathbad - druid and otherwise spiritual personage.

The Smith museum is to host an event around the opening of the coffin of a medieval bishop but before the event is due to start Ruth finds the curator of the museum dead beside the coffin. There is also
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another good installment. I can't figure out why I like these so much. Some of the characters are misogynists, and the women aren't any better. Michelle asks - "What was it like sleeping with a fat woman?" Well, it's like a skinny girl, but squishier. If we can't support one another then how can we ask the men to treat us with respect? I lost a lot of respect for Michelle in this book. I realize she is the injured party, but she is so detrimental to the whole situation.
John Wiltshire
Aug 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
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
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Bruce Hatton
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-crime
This is the fourth novel in the very enjoyable series featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and, for me, the most intricately plotted and exciting one I've read so far. As well as the highly likeable Ruth, it features the other familiar characters from the previous books such as DCI Harry Nelson, Cathbad the druid etc.
There are two intersecting plotlines in this novel. The first concerning a couple of suspicious deaths relating to a museum which has a collection of Australian Aborigi
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jo Chambers
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
This is the fourth Ruth Galloway novel in this excellent crime series set in Norfolk. Ruth is an archaeologist who sometimes helps the Police in cases where old bones are found. In this case, she is called in to supervise the opening of a medieval coffin at a local museum. But when she arrives there, she finds the curator of the museum lying dead beside it. The museum is also at the centre of a controversy about pillaged bones of aborigines and a call for them to be repatriated. Add to the mix s ...more
Cathy Cole
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Kay (aka) Miss Bates
The is the opening paragraph to my blog review:

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I had an Audible account, I listened to Elly Griffiths’s first three Ruth Galloway mysteries. Recently, I read #4, A Room Full of Bones, and it may be my favourite yet. (I have the rest stacked and ready to go all the way to the most recent, #11, The Stone Circle. I’m hooked, yes, and a fan.) Like her standalone mystery, The Stranger Diaries, Griffiths has a winning combination of elements: a likeable, detecti
Charmaine Greenan
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars - my favourite Ruth Galloway so far.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Kate is going to be a year old as of November1, 2009 and her mother, Doctor Ruth Galloway, is keenly aware that in all likelihood she is failing at motherhood across the board. It is one thing to be head of Forensic Archelogy at the University of North Norfolk. It is quite another thing to raise a child as a single parent. In addition to everything else the overwhelmed mother is doing, she was talked into having a birthday party for Kate. That means she is desperately racing though the market tr ...more
Mar 23, 2012 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
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Luanne Ollivier
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A Room Full of Bones is the newly released fourth book in Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series.

Ruth is a forensic archaeologist in England. She's been called in to a local museum to oversee the opening of a coffin that purportedly holds the bones of a medieval bishop. But when she arrives earlier than planned, she finds the curator dead and the body still warm. She calls for help and it arrives in the person of DCI Harry Nelson and his sidekick Clough.

We were left with a bit of a cliffhanger in
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 thi
Sep 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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 poi
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one more than number three in the series. The newly introduced characters had more presence to them this time. I liked what the author did with the relationship between the two main characters and the new facets of the supporting recurring characters. They're really settling in to feel familiar and reliable. The ambiguity between the 'spiritual' solution and the 'scientific' solution was neatly handled with no arch commentary one way or the other. The story also touched on some in ...more
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Play Book Tag: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths - 4 stars 3 18 May 24, 2018 03:16AM  
Has the series improved.. 1 33 Jul 06, 2014 09:18AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

Ruth Galloway (1 - 10 of 12 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)
  • The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway, #10)
  • The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)