Book Review: A Dying Fall – Elly Griffiths

Title: A Dying Fall
Author: Elly Griffiths
ISBN: 9780547798165
Pages: 400
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Genre: Crime Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


When forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway receives news that one of her colleagues died in a fire, she’s shocked. But she’s even more surprised to discover a letter from him in her mailbox the day after she learns of his death. He reports a great discovery, claiming he needs Ruth’s help. Ruth is invited to examine this find and is shocked by what she uncovers.


When it comes to series novels, it’s difficult to keep things fresh in every installment. After all, with mysteries, it’s hard to believe that gruesome murders happen on a regular basis in a small quiet town. That’s what makes Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway novels so remarkable. Every one is different, set apart from the rest. Whether it’s the setting, the situation, or the secondary characters (or all three), Griffiths manages to shake up every single one of these novels, and as a result, A Dying Fall (the fifth installment in this series) feels as fresh and new as it would if it were a standalone.

The plot of A Dying Fall is fascinating, with very interesting larger implications. Without giving away too much of the story, Griffiths put a very interesting twist on English history with the discovery that Ruth is asked to investigate. Through this, she invites a larger commentary on racism. She provokes incredibly interesting questions when it comes to the nature and degree of racism; it’s always nice when a book is not only entertaining, but makes you think.

Most of the secondary characters from previous books are along for the ride in A Dying Fall. It’s not necessary to read these books in order—readers can easily pick this book up without having read any of the previous installments and be just fine. The only thing readers might miss out on is character development. By this point, the relationships among the characters are quite complex. Griffiths doesn’t shy away from further development, though, so readers will continue to watch their favorite characters from this series grow, change, and make difficult realizations about themselves.

If you’re looking for a contemplative thought-provoking mystery that has great characters and fascinating history thrown in, definitely give any of Elly Griffiths’ novels a try. With each installment of this series, she just keeps getting better and better, and readers will thoroughly enjoy their all-too-brief visit with Ruth Galloway in A Dying Fall.

Other books by Elly Griffiths:

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones

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