The chilling discovery of a downed World War II plane with a body inside leads Ruth and DCI Nelson to uncover a wealthy family’s secrets in the seventh Ruth Galloway mystery.
Norfolk is suffering from record summer heat when a construction crew unearths a macabre discovery—a downed World War II plane with the pilot still inside. Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot, and DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea. When the remaining members of the Blackstock family learn about the discovery, they seem strangely frightened by the news.
Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger Blackstocks. As production begins, Ruth notices a mysterious man lurking on the outskirts of Fred Blackstock’s memorial service. Then human bones are found on the family’s pig farm. Can the team outrace a looming flood to find a killer?
Laced with dry humour and anchored by perennial fan favourite Ruth, The Ghost Fields will delight fans new and old.
Every new volume of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries is even better than the last and The Ghost Fields would be a good introduction as a standalone read since the mystery deepens and the tension increases dramatically.
Ruth is an intelligent, sensible, forensic archaeologist whose detective skills have been enhanced by working with DCI Harry Nelson. The fact that he is also the father of her 5 year old daughter, Kate, while he remains happily married to his long time wife, Michelle, should be complicated but somehow he is able to be involved in his daughter’s life. There is no doubting that both Ruth and Nelson are still fond of each other but they maintain a distance. However work brings them together and as a team they are successful in solving mysteries.
This cold case makes good use of DNA, connecting a body found in a buried World War Two plane to a local landed family, the Blackstocks. But how did Fred Blackstock end up in this plane with a bullet hole in his head when he was reported to have died in a different plane crash out at sea? Some of the Blackstock family act suspiciously but the family are also victims of attacks. It is good to see DS Dave Clough interacting with the family while Ruth deals with her feelings for American TV historian, Frank Barker who has returned to Norfolk.
Set in the autumn of 2013, the hot summer is replaced with a terrible storm and dangerous flooding which separates all the protagonists at a crucial time. Tragedy, a happy event and human emotions combine in a satisfying denouement to the mystery.
The Ghost Fields on Amazon UK
My review of The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths