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The Chalk Pit

(Ruth Galloway #9)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  11,209 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews
Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they are recent - the boiling not the medieval curiosity she thought - DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she's gone 'undergroun
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 23rd 2017 by Quercus
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rose Publish date and release date aren't always the same unfortunately

Awesome book, highly recommend it. I think it is the best in the series, Dying Fall …more
Publish date and release date aren't always the same unfortunately

Awesome book, highly recommend it. I think it is the best in the series, Dying Fall was my Fave until I read the Chalk Pit, love them all, but this is now my Fave!!!(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
George indicates you're wholly correct. Griffiths does toss off, "I have only followed the experts’ advice as far as…more indicates you're wholly correct. Griffiths does toss off, "I have only followed the experts’ advice as far as it helps the plot and any subsequent mistakes are mine alone" in the Acknowledgments. And in Ruth's very first outing, the author oversimplified the process of determining sex from a pelvis.

This sort of thing is unnecessary and foolish, to my mind, but I keep reading the sequels anyway.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  11,209 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews

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Dec 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is a great pleasure to return to the forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway series with the ninth in the series. It begins with Ruth entering an underground chalk tunnel in Norwich where bones have been discovered. They turn out to be boiled and speak of a recent death. Grace Miller reports seeing a Jesus like figure whilst in a car where the student occupants are all under the influence of drink and drugs. This occurs at night when a hole appears in a road. Aftershave Eddie, a homeless man, tel ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 One of my top five series, a series that I wait impatiently for the next offering. Adore the mix of archeology, police procedural and the personal lives of these oh, so interesting characters. The pace is always swift, and the plot intriguing.

In this one though she outdid herself, as she tackles the homeless, the danger, lack of awareness and sympathy they endure daily. Well I guess in the UK they are called rough sleepers, here in the U.S we call them homeless, or if one is being politicall
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I'm so disappointed that I finished already! I had planned to make The Chalk Pit last, but a few sunny days on the terrace had me turning the final page far too quickly. Now another year's wait to hear from my friends Ruth, Nelson and the rest again:-(
The Chalk Pit centers around the death and disappearance of homeless people in the area around King's Lynn. Ruth, who discovers a number of bones underground is, as ever, drawn into the mystery, which puts her in frequent (though not unwanted)
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5000-2020
I have enjoyed every book in this series so far but this one excels! The way the author is keeping Nelson and Ruth apart using every trick available just amazes me.

In The Chalk Pit Ruth investigates some newly discovered bones which turn out to not be historic and which therefore involve the police. At the same time Nelson, Judy and Clough are investigating recent deaths and disappearances of homeless people. The tension really builds however when one of their own group disappears and panic set
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library

I’m fast coming to the end of the Ruth Galloway series and it’s going to be an adjustment waiting for Elly Griffiths to write more.

Ruth, Nelson and the whole gang are just delightful characters. Even Jo Archer, Nelson’s new boss, comes across as fully formed. And Griffiths uses the landscape of King's Lynn as if it’s another character. Here, it’s the chalk mine tunnels that run under the city.

In this book, Johnson is investigating a female rough sleeper who has gone missing. I appreciated that
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From the very first Ruth Galloway book, The Crossing Places, I've been enchanted with this series. The settings are interesting, from a salt marsh to a World War II airfield to an old children’s home. The author uses local history to enrich her mysteries. As I’ve read through this series, the characters have become old friends.

This book takes place in Norwich and features two things: the underground chalk tunnels and rough sleepers (homeless people). Ruth is called in to evaluate some bones foun
Pat (not getting friend updates currently)
I just love the way Elly Griffiths blends history and archaeology and some actual places into her narratives. This story focuses heavily on homelessness, the rough sleepers, and some of the trials they have to endure.

It all kicks off when bones are discovered in an underground tunnel where work is about to start on the development of an underground restaurant (I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with that, I’ve always needed to see the outside world). But instead of being very old, the bones look re
Rachel Hall
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Time certainly flies when in the company of forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway, DCI Harry Nelson and Elly Griffith’s gang of assorted cast members and I cannot deny that every moment has been a pure and unadulterated joy. More than any other, this is the crime fiction series that puts a spring in my step with its mixture of crime and comforting gentle humour against a backdrop of archaeological insights and a frequently fascinating police procedural element all driven by a cast who feel lik ...more
4.5 stars. Read as a buddy read with Lisa Vegan. We raced through this one, I think we have developed a Ruth Galloway addiction problem, we are already feeling restless for the next, maybe there's a help group we can go to. Luckily this author seems to have written other books that rate highly with my GR friends!

This mystery focuses on 3 missing women and 2 murdered men, the men are homeless and sleeping rough, one of the women are also in this situation but two of the missing women aren't, they
Susan Johnson
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I don't do well underground. I don't like the feeling it gives me. Californians don't really dig unless it's for gold. We don't even have many basements in the state. Norwich England is different. There is a tunnel system under the city that goes almost everywhere. It's been abandoned but it's there and a developer decides he wants to build a restaurant in one of them. As they develop the site, bones are found.

Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate and discovers the bones are relatively new
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that was a joy to read for me. It helps that I am a committed fan of the author and her two crime series; but this novel is special for me as it places the realities of being homeless and a rough sleeper at the heart of the plot.
I know of no better example where this subject has been treated with compassion and understanding while being fundamental to the storyline.
It is also opportune that I am also concurrently reading Beneath the Killing Fields: Exploring the Subterranean Land
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-goal
Great mystery— I mean who doesn’t love the history of life underground? As always with Dr Ruth Galloway and her Norfolk friends, bones appear and murder is suspected.

But in this case the bones aren’t really the main show— rather a teaser for the crimes to come. Murders, kidnappings and a grand chase scene!

I totally didn’t guess the criminal and I was equally bowled over by the last few scenes.

And that epilogue? It just made me sad. Life is rarely what you want. However, one door closes and may
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths is book nine in the Ruth Galloway series and I'm wondering if this series had done it's best for me and it's time to move on. It's a bit of a sad thought since I found the first books quite good, but this book and the one before has just not worked out so well for me.

The story in this book was not that bad, at first, for the first 40-50% of the book was it interesting to read about the murdered tramps and the missing women, but then the story started to drag and I
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-reads-2017
This is my favorite crime fiction series. It is one series that when it comes out, I purchase. I do not want to wait for a library book. So much has been said already in other reviews about the plot, that I just want to say what I like about this series so much.

It is the characters. I feel that I have grown to know them through the books. I want to catch up with their lives and see what it happening. I like every one of the repeating characters. Ruth is a special protagonist. She is intelligent
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookdepository, 2017
4.5 stars

I'm trying to save 5 stars for classic books but I must say in the world of Ruth Galloway this is a 5 star classic.

All the characters make an appearance. Dr. Ruth Galloway is called in to look at some bones discovered while excavating for a new restaurant. Ruth is sure the bones will prove to be medieval. Meanwhile, Harry Nelson and his team begin investigating the disappearance of a homeless woman (rough sleeper in British) reported by another rough sleeper Eddie. The community of roug
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful book in the series.
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) Vegan
Buddy read with Hilary. We’re racing through this series. We’ve read the first 9 books in 2019, and started buddy reading them not too many books from the start. I’m hoping to make book 10 my first book finished in 2020. I have one other book to finish in 2019.

I am grateful that at the end of each book there is an author’s note where she explains what is real, what is changed, and what is completely made up with places & people, etc. The general settings are real and the characters seem so much
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths.

This is the 9th in the Ruth Galloway series and my 9th. Where do I do I begin? Just to say 5 stars is not enough for this excellent addition to the R.G. series.

Norwich has underground tunnels throughout ...chalk tunnels to be precise. Ruth's assistance is needed in identifying bones found in one of these tunnels. If they are ancient Ruth may be taking her class on another excavation to find any other bones hidden in these tunnels. At the same time DCI
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed this series since "The Crossing Places" one of the most brilliant in the series. In my mind the highlights of this book revolved more around the characters and their relationships than the actual mystery.

Ruth Galloway, a forensic anthropologist, is pulled in on a dig where she finds the boiled bones of someone who was fairly recently deceased. The police are called in to continue the dig. In the meantime one of the towns rough sleepers tells a trusted policeman that another homeless
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths is ninth in the Ruth Galloway mystery series, I had no idea what to think when I went into this book. I had not read any of the previous novels and, truthfully, had never even heard of this series! I was a little bit worried it would be the same old police procedural style novel and I was ready to throw it into my DNF pile when this story completely sucked me.

Ruth Galloway, a forensic archeologist, is called to investigate a set of human remains found in an old c
A little less drama and a lot more plot. Which is working fine for me. Definitely preferred this book to the last two, which seemed to be going toward a soap opera feeling, with so many love triangles, mostly involving married people, which is a sticking point for me and not something I gravitate toward.

Griffiths has created a bunch of characters I really like though, in a setting I love, and so will I continue with the series? That is a definite. The mysteries, for me, are always secondary to
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Margie by: Lisa, Hilary, Laura
4.5 stars

Cliffhanger alert!  Before you read this book, make sure you have the next book in the series waiting!  My mouth dropped open at the end of this book and I barely want to take the time to write a review before delving into the next book, The Dark Angel.

I give this book high marks for everything - plot, characters, setting, architectural and historical information and the continuing saga of the Galloway/Nelson extended family.  Griffiths once again nails it in terms of a page-turning mys
Cindy Burnett
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
With The Chalk Pit, Elly Griffiths adds another highly satisfying and intelligent installment to her Ruth Galloway series. The Chalk Pit is the 9th book, and the characters and plot line remain outstanding, likeably quirky and original. The Chalk Pit centers around Norwich’s hidden underground tunnels and the discovery of human bones. Initially the bones are thought to be medieval, but Ruth quickly determines that they are recent, and as a result, DCI Nelson and Ruth must work to solve a murder. ...more
Julie  Durnell
I found this one weak on the forensic archeology aspects and more emphasis on the characters relationships, just didn't enjoy it quite as much as others in the series. ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Always nice to revisit the world of Elly Griffiths, with another story set in Kings Lynn, Norfolk with Ruth Galloway and all the other familiar characters I've come to know over the course of this series. This episode involves street people, bones found in an underground cavern, unexplained killings, and mysterious disappearances. Once again there is the mix of police procedural, archaeology and the many personalities surrounding Ruth in the college town where old and ancient buildings once agai ...more
With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review. I feel so lucky to have received a copy before its official release date.

I always look forward to the latest Ruth Galloway book, it is like meeting old friends. I have read the all the books in this series before, so I understand the tensions between Ruth, Nelson his Wife Michelle and Tim.

The story begins with Ruth excavating in a tunnel under the Guild Hall in Norwich. A bone was found by archite
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received a free copy of this books from NetGalley.

I have read and enjoyed all the Ruth Galloway series and this one is just as good as its predecessors. There is something endearing about Ruth as a heroine in that she doesn't always do everything right and she has the same fears and insecurities as many of us endure. In this tense mystery boiled human bones are found in a tunnel under Norwich and Ruth discovers that they are recent rather than centuries old. The police in the person of DCI Har
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Griffiths is a great entertainer. I almost always have two or three books I'm reading in conjunction and switch them out deep depending on my mood and what book is closest to me to grab and read when I have a few spare minutes to indulge but a Griffith book never fails to grab my whole attention and everything else is set aside until I reach the end of her latest. The Chalk Pit was no immediate exception. The archeology hook this time is underground societies and their possible appeal for homele ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Among the many reasons I love summer is looking forward to reading the next in the Ruth Galloway mystery series. And each summer I'm rewarded by the "just one more chapter then I'll go to sleep" reading experiences. The Chalk Pit is the 9th in the series, and the only downside of reading this series is waiting for the next one. A purely enjoyable reading experience. ...more
The mystery in number nine of the series starts with the discovery of human bones in an underground pit which seem to have been boiled and picked clean. Nelson, Ruth and the gang investigate this and rumours there’s an entire underground society, living in a labyrinth of tunnels beneath Norfolk. There’s also a murder of a homeless person and a kidnapping of a woman which might be connected to this underground cannibalistic society.

I really enjoyed the mystery plot of this book. It was unique an
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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 14 books)
  • The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1)
  • The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway, #2)
  • The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway, #3)
  • A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, #4)
  • 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 Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway, #10)
  • The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)

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“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
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“Libraries are the cathedrals of the modern age. All that knowledge, available for anyone to use. It’s quite a subversive thought.” 5 likes
“She’s unmarried but, as she confided early on to Judy, ‘not short of offers’. Nelson often thinks that Jo is not nearly as attractive as she thinks she is but, as with all these things, her insane self-belief rubs off on others, and after a week King’s Lynn police were treating her as if she were Helen of Troy. Her technique is divide and rule.” 2 likes
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