The Locked Room

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. (Ruth Galloway, Bk. 14). Jun. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780358671398. $27.99. M
Griffiths’s latest “Dr. Ruth Galloway” mystery (following The Night Hawks) starts as a COVID shutdown around the world. Forensic archaeologist Ruth is still missing her mother, Jean, gone five years now, and is cleaning out some things when she finds a picture of Ruth’s Norfolk cottage, dated before she was born. Why is this among her things, especially when Jean didn’t seem to like the cottage? Then Ruth learns that her new neighbor has a checkered past, which also raises some questions. Meanwhile, Harry Nelson and Judy Johnson, Ruth’s friends on the police force, are investigating a series of suicides, but one victim is found in a room locked from the outside. They are trying to figure out if there’s a serial killer staging suicides, and if so, they wonder how to thoroughly inspect during lockdown. Griffiths certainly has her characters down pat, yet still allows them to grow with this new global situation and how it affects their community. Different story lines, including an archaeological clue, twine together perfectly, slowly building suspense until the satisfying reveal.
VERDICT Readers new to this series and longtime fans will not be able to put this down, as long as they aren’t put off by the pandemic story line.
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