Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Room Full of Bones, by Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway, Cathbad and Inspector Nelson are all back in another adventure of death and archeology. A construction crew has uncovered the coffin of a Catholic Bishop who appears to have been buried in the wrong place. To make things interesting the coffin and body are being delivered to the Smith family museum (relatives of the deceased Clergy) for them to have on display.

They decide they would like to open the coffin and the press has been called in to watch. The opening of a several hundred years old coffin seems to invite mystery. Ruth Galloway is asked to be present at the opening to provide expertise in relationship to identifying the bones.

But when Ruth shows up at the Museum about an hour early she finds the curator of the Museum lying on the floor next to the coffin dead. It doesn't appear to be murder, but the young curator is to young to die of a heart attack. Why did he die? Was it due to the curse of the coffin that the Bishop put on it? The curse was to not disturb the bones of the deceased or face certain death.

Inspector Harry Nelson is called in along with Judy and Clough to investigate. The coffin gets opened and Lord Smith who is at the opening turns up dead several days later at his race horse ranch. Why did he die? Was it the curse?

Not only that but inspector Nelson also gets sick and enters into a coma and is fighting for his life and the doctors can't find a cause. Cathbad to the rescue. He informs Ruth that is the curse and he plans to enter the "Dreaming" to find Nelson and bring him back.

Oh, and to add to the mystery the Museum is also holding the skeletal remains of Aborignal Natives from Australia. This has brought about a group trying to get the museum to return the remains so that they can be laid to rest in their homeland and able to find peace. Bob Woonunga has moved in next to Ruth and he is a Shaman from Australia who has come to seek the return of the bones. Cathbad thinks he may have put the curse on the museum curator, inspector Nelson and Lord Smith. Who knows.

The book has several plots running at once. There is also a drug operation that the police are trying to break up. Does it tie in, well of course it does, otherwise it wouldn't be mentioned so often.

All in all the book is a bit slower than the other reads. It was not as exciting as the others in the series. But it does a great job of developing Ruth's character and that of her little girl Kate. It further develops the relationship between Ruth and Harry and the problems that rise up with Harry's wife.

The book is good, just not as fascinating as the first books in the series. I hope the next one is a bit more filled with archeology than just a study of the bones in a museum.


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