It is mid-February 2014 as The Woman in Blue: A Ruth Galloway Mystery begins. Cathbad is again house/pet sitting and again things are not going well. The pet in question this time is a black cat by the name of Chesterton. The owner, Justin, made it abundantly clear Chesterton is not to be let out at night. Despite Cathbad’s best efforts, the cat escapes and goes off into the darkness.
The home is a 15th century cottage next to a church and burial grounds. None of that bothers Cathbad as he is a Druid. What bothers him is the feeling he has had ever since he came to St. Simeon’s Cottage, Walsingham of a heavy sense of sadness about everything. He feels it now and with the cat missing that does not help matters.
Cathbad heads out in pursuit of the cat and soon sees a vague shape by one of the tombstones. A woman in white robes and a blue cloak who seems to almost glow in a divine way. She shakes her head at him regards to his offer of help and leaves quickly. In just a few hours, that same woman will be found dead nearby.
DCI Harry Nelson, head of the Serious Crimes Unit, will lead the investigation into the woman’s death. It wasn’t the cold that killed her though she was dressed only in a nightdress, a dressing gown, and slippers. She was strangled, according to police pathologist Christ Stephenson, who has also concluded she has been in the ditch eight to ten hours. It is very possible she is a patient at the nearby “Sanctuary” which is a private hospital that treats well off addicts.
It does not take long to confirm that the dead person was a patient and her name is Chloe Jenkins. She is the first of several deaths that will happen in the area.
A separate storyline is in regards to a series of hate filled letters that have been sent to Ruth’s friend, Hillary. She is an Anglican priest and some people do not want women as priests. The letters are clearly a threat. Are the murderer and the letter writer one and the same? As the murder continues and other events happen, everything seems to be pointing towards Easter Sunday in The Woman In Blue: A Ruth Galloway Mystery.
The eighth book in the series continues to build on character evolution, story arcs, and other elements. The ongoing private lives of all the characters make up a critical part of this very good series. Unlike previous books in the series where archeology was a key element in the read, here it barely makes a passing reference. Region and the role of women in the church is the primary focus and is weaved through the cases as well as the ongoing personal situations that are the backbone of the series. The Woman in Blue: a Ruth Galloway Mystery is another good read in a very good series that must be read in order starting with The Crossing Places.
The books, in order, and my reviews:
The Crossing Places (Reviewed 12/26/15)
The Janus Stone (Reviewed 11/18/2016)
The House at Sea’s End (Reviewed 12/2/2016)
A Room Full of Bones (Reviewed 12/30/2016)
A Dying Fall (Reviewed 2/10/2017)
The Outcast Dead(Reviewed 4/21/17)
The Ghost Fields (Reviewed 7/14/17)
The Woman in Blue: a Ruth Galloway Mystery
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardback (also available in paperback and eBook formats)
Material obtained via the Dallas Public Library System to read and review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2017