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The Locked Room by Elly Griffiths - Review

Thursday, September 29, 2022

You know me, I love Elly Griffiths' books and always love when there's a new Ruth Galloway book coming out. I had to wait for this to come out in paperback though, which it did, in August. I picked it up soon after that! I'm aware that it's the penultimate Ruth book, the last one will be out next year! I also knew that this one was set in lockdown in 2020, which puts a whole new slant on things. 

At the beginning of the book it's early 2020 and no one is yet panicking about Covid-19. Ruth is clearing out some of her mum's stuff from her parents' house - her mum died five years previously and her dad, Arthur, is remarried to someone he met at church. Ruth finds old photos and so on, including a photo from 1963 of the cottage that Ruth now lives in. It's a photo with its neighbours, when the cottages painted pink, and the note on the back says Dawn 1963. But why would Jean have a photo of Ruth's cottage, somewhere that she always professed to hate? 

Meanwhile Nelson is investigating an unexpected death. It looks like a suicide, but the victim's bedroom door was locked from the outside. It doesn't feel right to Nelson, so he gets his team to start looking at other deaths where the victim was middle aged or older, and which have been recorded as suicides. They turn up a few, but can't find the link between them all... 

Ruth is called to a body in Tombland, near Norwich cathedral. She thinks it is mediaeval, and properly buried, but her students are obsessed with the idea that it might be a plague body, slung into a plague pit. Two of her students, Eileen and Joe, seem unhealthily obsessed with the body. Ruth also has a new next door neighbour, Zoe, who is a nurse. Lockdown hits, and Ruth is glad to not be alone on the saltmarshes with only Kate for company. Cathbad rises to the challenge of homeschooling the children, and starts doing Zoom yoga with Ruth and Kate and then Zoe too. 

Michelle is away in Blackpool with little George, and has been for weeks, meaning Nelson is by himself at home, so then he ends up staying at Ruth's, because of course. Then someone catches Covid and is extremely ill... I honestly thought this person would die. As a writer, if I was coming to the end of such a long series, I might start killing people off too.... 

I loved this book - it's odd to look back at what is such recent history but what feels like so long ago now. I am so looking forward to the last one, and am giving this five out of five.

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