Elly Griffiths’ THE LANTERN MEN (RUTH GALLOWAY #12), narrated by Jane McDowell

Old tales hold power in this latest volume about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway and her friends Cathbad (a Druid), DCI Nelson (a police officer) and Frank Barker (her partner.)

What is so great about Elly Griffiths’ stories is that they depict life in 21st-century England so well. People no longer feel forced to marry even when they have children, and this is shown up in the complex relationships of the main characters. Cathbad & Judy (also a police officer, and Nelson’s right-hand person) are not married, but have two children and seem very happy together. Nelson and Michelle are married, with two adult daughters and a toddler son. They, however, merely seem to tolerate each other for the sake of their children. Then there is Ruth, an unmarried mother, whose daughter Kate is also Nelson’s child.

Ruth & Nelson do an admirable job of being restrained most of the time. But when Ruth is badly hurt, passions flare, and feelings seem to grow more and more intense between herself and Nelson. One wonders how much strain the Nelson marriage can stand.

And I haven’t even started on the story, which you should read for yourself. Five stars. #ellygriffiths #thelanternmen