'My favourite series' Val McDermid
DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to 'go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there'. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle's baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?
Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh - another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle - trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.
As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn't save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.
Mary Higgins Clark Award winner Griffiths's enticing 11th mystery to feature forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway and her married lover, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson of the King's Lynn CID (after 2018's The Dark Angel), harkens back to their first case together, when they investigated missing girls near the Norfolk marshes and conceived their now seven-year-old daughter, Kate. Anonymous threatening letters sent to Nelson appear to be from the person who led the pair into that first case, Ruth's mentor and later antagonist. The discovery of the bones of 12-year-old Margaret Lacey, who disappeared in 1981, in an archeological dig, raises the stakes. Series fans should enjoy echoes of Griffiths's debut, 2009's The Crossing Places, and the roles played by Det. Sgt. Judy Johnson and her police partner, Maddie, in seeking Margaret's killer. Meanwhile, Nelson's pregnant wife prepares to deliver a child who may or may not be his. The continuing lack of resolution in Ruth and Nelson's relationship may wear on even the most patient readers. Still, fans of forensic mysteries will find plenty to like.