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Publisher's Summary

It is Halloween night, and the local museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event - the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum's curator lying dead beside the coffin. It is only a matter of time before she and DI Nelson cross paths once more, as he is called in to investigate. Soon the museum's wealthy owner lies dead in his stables, too. These two deaths could be from natural causes - but Nelson isn't convinced.

©2012 Elly Griffiths (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Room Full of Bones

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • karen
  • 2012-11-24

Changing, evolving, genre....

I loved Elly Griffith's first book so much that when the second came out, I bought it right away -- something I almost never do. I usually wait for a second-hand copy to become available. I enjoyed the second book, and the third, too, but not as much. This one? Not at all. The author has subtly changed genre, and this doesn't interest me anymore.

The earlier books focused on Ruth Galloway, an archaeologist and single mother, which was an interesting combination, and meant a mystery focused on ancient remains, their origins and what might have occurred. The series has now taken off in a different direction. Now the focus is equally on one of the other characters, Cathbad, a Druid, and now seems to center on his occult beliefs, rituals, super powers and abilities. We still get Ruth dealing with her young daughter, but the emphasis has definitely changed.

In reading other reader's comments, I understand that many love this new direction, the Druidical hocus-pokus, the spells and charms. I don't. I liked the more traditional detective tale involving ancient remains and what happened to them.

It's all a matter of taste -- this book with its phantasmagorical storyline just wasn't interesting to me. I won't bother with subsequent books.

23 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sires
  • 2012-03-19

Elly Griffith Is Back in Better Form

I was disappointed in the previous Ruth Galloway mystery (The House at Sea's End). Three stars disappointed. I actually said that I wasn't looking forward to forensic anthropology with a toddler. However, the author made a decision to have a significant event in the relationship between Ruth and her baby's father happen between books that actually seems to help the story arc in my opinion.

The story opens with the death of a director of a small local museum. He is found lying dead beside the coffin of a medieval bishop that had been excavated from a site that had once been a church and then an industrial site. The window is open, a single shoe lies on the floor and a guide book whose pages riffle in the breeze. Ruth Galloway, forensic anthropologist, finds the body. Murder or natural causes? A drug habit might argue one, but menacing letters in his desk drawer might argue the other.

The museum also houses some Australian aborigine bones that a group calling itself the Elginists (Lord Elgin's marbles but I'm not sure why they named themselves after the guy who took the marbles from the Parthenon) want repatriated. These bones were collected by the ancestor of the founder of the museum, Lord Smith. Lord Smith is also a racing stable owner, married with three adult children, one of whom helps with the stable, one who is a successful QC and one who is a wastrel.

Meanwhile Harry Nelson's team is also dealing with the importation of high quality drugs from over seas that apparently no one in the criminal community knows about.

The disentangling all of the threads kept me interested through the entire story. There was one thing that niggled at me after I finished the book but I can't tell it without spoilers so I just have to say that it might bother others also.

I gave this book 4 stars because it was a better than average entertainment even with the occasional fault.

P.S. Jane McDowell does her usual good job with the narration.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Theblackersheep
  • 2012-05-28

Good Book!

Elly Griffiths' 4th book in the Ruth Galloway series does not disappoint. Her characters continue to be interesting and the mysteries less than straightforward. Although many of her characters are less than conventional people and hold beliefs not likely to be accepted by the mainstream, Griffiths always manages to keep them from going overboard into an extreme that might alienate some readers. She also leaves much open to interpretation instead of simply telling you this is what you must believe happened. It's a bit along the lines of Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins, only as a archeologist Ruth Galloway is perhaps a bit more grounded in scientific belief. I'm making the comparison simply based on the fact that both authors are adept at leaving opinion up to the reader.

The plot of the novel is excellent with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting and leaving me feeling like the book was much too short and couldn't we have had more please. I'm amazed at how well Griffiths combines Ruth's life with the investigations without making her into a Scarpetta, or a protagonist who becomes the constant victim. She's there and she is definitely the focus, but the writing is much more subtle and you don't feel as if Ruth is being forced on you. I've loved the previous books in the series and this one was no different. Griffiths holds your interest from beginning to end without going overboard on the drama and I really like the way she even makes reality seem surprising. I don't want to have to wait for the next book to come out.

The only critique I have of this book is the quality of the recording. Jane McDowell did an excellent job at narration, as always, but the recording occasionally sounds quite tinny even though I downloaded the 4. Still, it's a great book and one I can recommend.

7 people found this helpful

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  • reasonable critic
  • 2012-04-12

Best So Far in the Series!

Couldn't wait for this book to be published and was not disappointed. Loved the new romantic plot developments. Am usually fairly good at figuring out the culprit before the
end of the book but was taken by complete surprise in this one. Start with the first book in the series. You won't regret it.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Meep
  • 2016-08-22

This is where I stop

I have been working through the series back to front. I started with book 8, and though reviews tended to complain that it wasn't as good as earlier books, it caught my interest and I continued backward through the series to this point. I do not particularly like the two main characters (Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson), but I find a number of the secondary characters and their interactions interesting and compelling and find myself caring about their lives. The mysteries themselves vary, but the atmosphere is always powerful and the flow of the story grips the reader and carries them along inexorably. Until this book.
SPOILER ALERT Spoilers to follow!
This book, however, breaks with all the books to follow it. (5-8). The mystery is resolved with a secondary plot that is introduced late, and seems to have been shoehorned in to explain things in a poorly executed way. The solution to the deaths is clever but it is, for me, completely wiped out by the coroner saying that they would have known what killed one of the victims if they had done an autopsy. Really? A second person dies a mysterious and unexpected death while a police investigation is going on that closely involves him and they didn't do an autopsy? This is ridiculous. The whole thing is put together with equal sloppiness.
The worst part, however, is the fact that I loath authors who use the abuse of animals as a means of indicating evil or wrongdoing. In this case, we have snakes killed and abused in the name of animal rights, the report of a cat brutally murdered in a previous story, and the horrifying abuse of multiple horses. In fact, the police witness this not once but twice. The second time they witness this horror and are thrown off the property in a suspicious manner and they do nothing, NOTHING about it. They just ignore it. Aditionally, we are never told if either of these horses survives, or anything about their fate or the fates of any of the other animals that were abused in the past. We are in fact meant to believe that the owner of the stable, his horse loving daughter and his animal rights activist wife allowed this abuse to go on for months or maybe years without even noticing it! There is also no satisfactory explanation of why these horses are suffering this way. We are told the cause, but not why it should cause such suffering. The medical explanation might be simple enough, but since this book is written with a depth of understanding that allows us to be told that a character may be suffering from a viral infection "one that doesn't respond to antibiotics" and a coroner that doesn't do autopsies on suspicious deaths, it is really no surprise that no coherent explanation is offered for the horse situation either.
In summary, I will not be reading anything by Elly Griffiths again and I am sorry she got so much of my money already.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 2016-05-01

Dreadful accents

This was too long and wordy for me, needs editing. The Australian accent was truly awful. This is my least favorite of this series, I have enjoyed the others however.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne
  • 2012-03-30

Very enjoyable

Another lovely book by Elly Griffith: the story is good, not great, but the character development is very satisfying. Jane Powell's performance is excellent. If you are a fan of Ruth and Harry, then, you will enjoy this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Chana Goanna
  • 2018-05-27

What happened?!?

I was enjoying this series so much until this book. The heroine was unconventional; the love story was messy, complicated, and unresolved; the science was intriguing; and the mysteries themselves were enjoyably unpredictable. Then the author inexplicably decided to stuff as many boring, politically correct stereotypes as she could possibly fit into this one moralizing, preachy, miserable botch-up. I will give the series one more chance in the strength of the prior books, but I’m a bit sick that I wasted a credit on this vapid piece of dreck.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-12-03

Enjoyed it but too much paranormal

I like the hints of spiritual manifestation in the Ruth Galloway series, but this one went over the top with the Dreamtime journey. The murder mystery was complex enough to be enjoyable and the characters continue to be just neurotic enough. But more archaeology, less paranormal.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 2016-07-25

Enjoyable series

Love this series. Although they are murder stories there is graphic gory murder scenes. Characters are multidimensional and interesting. Stories are interesting and there is always a twist.

2 people found this helpful