Elly Griffiths

Author profile

Elly Griffiths is a woman of two names… and this isn’t her real one.

Her given name is Domenica de Rosa and she’s written five books under that name all, I believe, romances based in Italy. I haven’t read any of them.

I have, however, read all of her Ruth Galloway series, her Brighton Mysteries and all of the standalone murder mystery novels she has written under the name Elly Griffith

I also own, but have not yet read, the first children’s book she has penned entitled A Girl Called Justice which is about a young super-sleuth at boarding school. I believe there are currently three books in the series, which she also writes under the name Elly Griffiths.

Griffiths lives near Brighton, UK with her archaeologist husband and their two children. And it is the archaeology that first interested me in her books.

My first taste of her novels came with The Stone Circle (it isn’t the first book in the series) that I picked up in a charity shop. Dr Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist who is called in to help DCI Nelson of Norfolk Constabulary when the cases demand. I found the combination of archaeology and crime compelling, and Griffiths writes with such an approachable style I was instantly drawn in. Then I discovered there are loads of Ruth Galloway books and I set about purchasing and reading them all.

Having run out of Ms Galloway books, I turned to the Brighton Mysteries. Still crime novels, these were different in that the series starts in the 1950s and involves a police inspector who was a member of the Magic Men in the Second World War – an army unit tasked with coming up with illusions that would fool the enemy.

One of his wartime colleagues was a music hall magician called Max Mephisto and together the police and an assortment of theatre performers are caught up in some intriguing mysteries.

The standalone crime novels – currently there are three – feature Detective Sergeant Harbinder Kaur and we are back in the 21st century.

All of Griffiths’ crime novels are expertly plotted with nice twists and turns and a good page-turning pace. But what really draws me to them is the often-complicated relationships between the characters. DS Kaur is a gay, female, Sikh detective who still lives with her parents, DI Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto in the Brighton Mysteries are friends, but the DI is unsure of the theatrical world and also of his former comrades in the Magic Men. And Dr Ruth Galloway’s and the married DCI Harry Nelson’s relationship gets very, very close.

Griffiths’ first novel was published, under her real name, in 2004. Since then she has had more than 30 books published, which isn’t bad going. She’s been on the best seller lists of the Sunday Times and the New York Times and won, or been shortlisted for many awards.

If you’ve not read her, try a couple and see what you think. Her website is here.

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