The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths (Review #13)

The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths


Ruth Galloway has just returned from maternity leave and is struggling to juggle work and motherhood. When a team from the University of North Norfolk, investigating coastal erosion, finds six bodies buried at the foot of the cliff, she is immediately put on the case. DCI Nelson is investigating, but Ruth finds this more hindrance than help – Nelson is the father of her daughter, Kate. Still, she remains professional and concentrates on the case at hand. Forensic tests prove that the bodies are from Southern Europe, killed sixty years ago. Police Investigations unearth records of Project Lucifer, a wartime plan to stop a German invasion. A further discovery reveals that members of the Broughton Sea’s End Home Guard took a ‘blood oath’ to conceal some deadly wartime secret. The more information they uncover, the more elusive any explanation becomes. When a visiting German reporter is killed, Ruth and Nelson realise that someone is still alive who will kill to keep the secret of Broughton Sea’s End’s war years. Can they discover the truth in time to stop another murder?


I am working through the Ruth Galloway series and this was my latest read and the first one that isn’t a reread for me. So far with all the Ruth Galloway books I have read, once I start them I can’t put them down and this was exactly the same. 

This book shows Ruth coming to terms with being a mother, juggling work, motherhood and another murder investigation. Amongst all of this Ruth also has a friend from her past staying with her and this friend also brings memories of her experience excavating war graves all those years ago. 

Though Ruth is doing her best to juggle everything she does have a support network of friends to help her and also a very generous childminder.  Ruth’s biggest problem is actually asking for help when she needs it. 

As we watch Ruth learning to cope we also watch Nelson trying to cope and work out how to be a father to a child he can’t own up to having. Nelson finds himself wanting it all, both Michelle and Ruth and his three daughters but he also knows this is not possible. Amongst all of this he is riddled with guilt for his affair. To be honest I’m surprised he has enough mental capacity to solve a crime with all of his emotional problems. 

This book like all the Ruth Galloway books is very character driven and I love learning new things about the characters and seeing them develop. My favourite character is still Cathbad, he is such a free spirit and definitely has a particular brand of magic. 

I will be honest Ruth did get a little on my nerves at times in this book and I found myself shouting be a mother and stop dashing off to see random things. Ruth put herself in a lot of danger at times and I kept thinking about little Kate who would be left alone if anything happened. I know it was all part of Ruth trying to be a mother and also not lose part of herself to motherhood but I did get frustrated with her. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and flew through it and will soon be reading book 4 of the series. I give this book another 5 out of 5 Dragons. 


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About the author

Elly Griffiths was born in London and began her career in publishing, she then turned to writing full time. In 2016 she won the CWA Dagger in the Library for her work. Griffiths lives in Brighton with her family.



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