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I’ve just spent a delightful afternoon at the Sidmouth Crime Book Group discussing the sixth in the Kate Galloway series by author Ellie Griffiths. Having read all the books so far it was with great pleasure that I returned to read ‘The Outcast Dead’. I never tire of reading about Ruth and her interesting life full of superstition, archaeological relics and striving to balance her career with her commitments as a single working mum. So I was delighted that everyone else in the group found ‘The Outcast Dead’ as enjoyable as I had.

What particularly pleased the group was the bevy of beautifully crafted characters. We all liked Ruth with her passion for Radio 4 and the Today programme, her guilt trips and refreshing lack of concern for her appearance, but the personalities of the minor characters are also fully drawn and shine through, especially Cathbad the captivating druid. We liked the now familiar themes of morality and guilt found both in Ruth and Nelson’s personal relationships and in the plot of ‘The Outcast Dead’. How ancient beliefs influence contemporary thought, in this case motherhood and absent parenting.

We are all big fans of Ellie Griffiths writing but we agreed the characters were stronger than the plots and that over the series similar plot ideas continue to reappear like the abduction of children. However that didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the book and just like Ruth who takes comfort in listening to the Archers, we took pleasure in meeting up with our favourite characters, and as in all the best soaps in following the lead characters machinations. This was one occasion when we all enjoyed our book group read and those of us who haven’t read the complete series are going to now.

Kennaway House where we meet

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