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Halloween night, and the dead are closer than ever for Dr Ruth Galloway. She is used to long-dead bodies, but a fresh corpse in the middle of a museum is a new challenge.
'My favourite current series' Val McDermid
'A wonderfully rich mix of ancient and contemporary' Guardian
It is Halloween in King's Lynn, and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is attending a strange event at the local history museum - the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But then Ruth finds the body of the museum's curator lying beside the coffin.
Soon the museum's wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but DCI Harry Nelson isn't convinced, and it is only a matter of time before Ruth and Nelson cross paths once more.
When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the Aboriginal ritual of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths - and be the key to their own survival.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Galloway's fourth exploit, set in 2009 in Norfolk, England after The House at Sea's End, is another solid puzzle, matching crafty plotting with living and breathing characters readers will invest in. With her boss away, Galloway is representing the University of North Norfolk at the opening of a coffin believed to belong to 14th-century bishop Augustine Smith. What should be a routine duty turns out to be anything but. Griffiths's wry understatement is perfect for Galloway's grim discovery the "Local History Room seems to be empty apart from a coffin on a trestle table, and a body lying beside it." The corpse belongs to museum curator Neil Topham. There's no obvious cause of death, but the police soon find evidence of foul play in the form of a threatening letter discovered in the dead man's desk. The deductions and story developments are first-rate, and will certainly lead many first-timers to seek out other Galloway books.