Elly Griffiths is by no means the first author to make her main character an archaeologist but she is certainly one of the most well known and one of the best. Her Ruth Galloway crime novels are set in Norfolk and the locations play an important role in the stories too. It is best to read the books in order starting with The Crossing Places because the author takes the main characters on a journey as the books progress.
Ruth Galloway works at the University of East Anglia but becomes involved in police cases because of a growing connection with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson – a connection which becomes personal despite Nelson’s marriage and which results in the birth of Ruth’s daughter Kate. The personal story and the friends and colleagues are also part of the books and relationships change and people grow as the books progress – you are never quite sure what the author is going to do to her characters next.
The novels often involve somethings that has happened in the past and if Ruth’s involvement is sometimes a bit far fetched then it’s worth it for the sheer enjoyability of the books. Ruth and Harry and their friends and family feel like real people with strengths and flaws and who make good decisions and sometimes poor ones. Ruth worries about her weight, her social life and babysitters and Nelson pines for his home in Liverpool, drives too quickly and hates paperwork.
I highly recommend this series of books of which there are currently nine and the author’s other series set just after WW2 where one of the main characters is a stage magician.
If you are looking for other books set around archaeological digs then I recommend the crime novels of Kate Ellis which all have that as a theme – I don’t enjoy them as much as Elly Griffiths’ books but they are definitely worth reading and there are a lot of them.