First Line: "The spirits are strong in this one," says the man in the white robe and gumboots.
For any fan of Elly Griffiths' Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series, the man in the white robe and gumboots will be recognized immediately as Ruth's friend, Cathbad, and with that bit of familiarity, the aforementioned fan will settle in for an all-too-short but enjoyable read.
Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway has never done Christmas before, but now that her daughter is a year old and can actually enjoy it a bit, Ruth wants the entire celebration to be memorable and perfect. It's three days before Christmas, it's bitterly cold in Norfolk, England, and Ruth has to get a tree, decorations, food, presents, clean the house, and cook. But the more plans and good intentions Ruth has, the more difficulties seem to be arising to waylay each and every one.
This is a short story meant to give fans of the mystery series a special little glimpse into Ruth's personal life when she's not busy trying to solve a murder. As such it's a neat little gem of a story, but if a reader comes to this expecting to be introduced to the series, it is more apt to confuse than to welcome. Newcomers may feel that the characters are not given a proper introduction, and that too much information is given in the space of a few pages.
If you're new to Elly Griffiths' Dr. Ruth Galloway series and decided to "test the waters" with this free short story, welcome aboard. If you read the story and feel a bit like an outsider, try the first book in the series (the award-winning The Crossing Places). If you haven't fallen in love with the Norfolk setting and the character of Ruth Galloway within the first few chapters, I'd be very surprised.
For established fans-- like me-- it's a wonderful little glimpse into Ruth's life to help tide us over until the next book.