Monday, January 20, 2014

Kidnapping, Murder, and the Legend of a Victorian Murderess: The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, uncovers the bones of a notorious Victorian murderess, Mother Hook, on a routine dig near the walls of Norwich Castle. A television program Women who Kill wants to film the find. Some members of the production company think Mother Hook was innocent of murdering her charges, others see her as a wicked hag killing children to sell their bodies to the Resurrectionists, men who collected bodies to sell to medical schools for dissection.

While Ruth is involved with the television production, DCI Harry Nelson, father of Ruth's daughter, Kate, becomes in involved with the death of a baby and the kidnapping of two others. The atmosphere is charged with tension. The focus is on the mothers and their anguish as the police search for the missing children.

The theme of children abducted and killed is threaded through the story from the opening scenes discussing the guilt or innocence of Mother Hook to the heart rending agony of the mothers while their children are missing. I thought Griffiths did an excellent job tying the murder and abductions together with the larger picture of the Mother Hook legend. The tension kept me reading wondering whether the police would find the children in time.

I enjoyed this book very much. There was more police presence and detection in this book than some earlier books. I found that a good contrast to the academic atmosphere surrounding Ruth and the television production. If you like a good mystery with interesting characters and the beautiful Norfolk scenery, you'll enjoy this book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.