No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Friday, December 29, 2017

2017/111: The Woman In Blue -- Elly Griffiths

Nelson takes a step back. "Who says we've found a woman?"
He half-expects Cathbad to say something about spiritual energies and cosmic vibrations, but instead he says, "I heard the milkman talking about it." [p. 8]
Ruth's Druidical friend Cathbad is cat-sitting for a friend in Walsingham, 'England's Nazareth', a small Norfolk town which many believe has a brooding atmosphere. One night the cat (who is named Chesterton: this is significant) escapes, as they do, and Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and blue cloak standing in the graveyard. Next day, a blonde woman is found dead, wrapped in blue cloth: is she the woman Cathbad saw? Meanwhile, Ruth's old friend Hilary has momentous news: she's become a priest -- and is receiving hate mail. Then one of her fellow female priests is also found murdered, and Nelson's wife Michelle is attacked on her way through the graveyard.

Ruth's somewhat belligerent atheism, and her no-nonsense feminism (she thinks the girls in Frozen should wear anoraks, not plunging necklines), is refreshing and often funny. She also does some Serious Thinking about her relationships (though she tells the women priests, over cocktails, "I don't need a man. I've got a daughter and a cat."). She doesn't, however, get to do much in the archaeological line this time around.

Not my favourite of the Ruth Galloway books, although there is progress in several of the soap-opera plots concerning her associates. (Nelson even admits, albeit to himself, that he is not good at talking or thinking about his feelings.) The murder mystery, though, was weak, and the religious elements (women priests, fashions in Catholicism, everyday life in a pilgrim town) didn't engage me.

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