Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Sluggish Mystery: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

Dr. Ruth Galloway arrives at the Smith Museum to attend the opening of Bishop Augustine's coffin. Augustine was one of the earliest bishops and was thought to be buried at the Norwich Cathedral. Surprisingly, the coffin was found under the remains of a minor parish church. Instead of a ceremony opening the coffin, Ruth finds the curator, Neil Topham, lying dead beside the coffin. The cause of death is not immediately obvious, even after the autopsy, but there are a number of clues suggesting murder. When the second body turns up, murder is definitely the order of the day.

I didn't enjoy this book. On the positive side, the mystery is interesting. I did want to find out about the connection between the murders and Bishop Augustine's coffin. However, the book has a great many negatives, including anatomical inaccuracies. The pace is slow. A great deal of time is spent on the characters' backgrounds. I found this particularly irritating because the author insists in writing in the present tense, so all the characters' thoughts are in the present tense. To me it drags out the backstory too much. If it's necessary to tell in detail what happened in the past, I'd prefer description.

The characters are mildly interesting. The author does a good job developing the relationship between Ruth, her daugher, Katie, and Katie's father. However, I felt that all the description took away from the solution to the mystery. The sub-plots are distracting. The have the feel of being added on to give the book adequate length. I really can't recommend this book unless you read the previous books in the series and want to find out how the characters develop.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.