Latest Reads: Elly Griffiths and Andrew Taylor

As it’s the summer, my reading is slightly different from usual as I’m spending the time either catching up with authors’ latest reads or making headway with my TBR pile. Elly Griffiths is one of my favourite crime writers and I was conscious that I had an unread Ruth Galloway novel on my shelves. In The Dark AngelRuth travels to Italy at the request of one of her friends, archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli. Accompanied by her friend, Shona and young daughter, Kate, Ruth finds that Morelli is convinced his life is under threat.  Griffiths excels at relationships and I love the on-off tension between Ruth and Nelson. This is a series that gets better and better.

Elly Griffiths also has a standalone book, The Stranger Diaries, out in November. It’s a modern gothic thriller set around a school which was once the residence of writer RM Holland. Clare Cassidy teaches English in the school and is appalled when one of her colleagues is found murdered. The book is told from the point of views of Clare, her daughter Georgia and Harbinder, the detective in charge of the case. Ss we’ve come to expect from Griffiths, it’s a compelling read and I loved the cast of characters she’s created.

I heard Andrew Taylor speak at Alibis in the Archives in June and was inspired to read his bestselling novel, The Ashes of London, set in the aftermath of the Great Fire.  James Marwood, son of a traitor, is struggling to look after this impoverished father and earn a living. Tasked to search for Catherine Lovett, whose father was accused of regicide, he discovers a more deadly plot than the hunt for a missing girl. I loved both protagonists – it’s rare I like two points of view equally – and the period detail is wonderful.

The Anatomy of Ghosts is set in the late 1700s at a Cambridge College. Frank Oldershaw is involved in an initiation rite which goes wrong and he loses his mind, claiming to see the ghost of murdered Sylvia Whichcote. His mother calls on John Holdswoth, an author of a rationalist text on ghosts but living in impoverished circumstances, to investigate. Taylor brings to life a closed, incestuous world in this book which is again rich in period detail and compelling relationships.


16 thoughts on “Latest Reads: Elly Griffiths and Andrew Taylor

  1. Margot Kinberg

    I really like Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series, Sarah, so delighted to see her work mentioned here. And I appreciate the reminder of Taylor’s work. I keep hearing such great things about it, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I will, though…


  2. tracybham

    I am way behind on Elly Griffiths’ books and don’t know if I will ever catch up, but I like hearing about them. I have only read one by Andrew Taylor and that was a few years back. I have quite a few on my TBR pile so I should get to them.


  3. I hadn’t realized that the newest Ruth Galloway book by Elly Griffiths is available; she’s one of my very favorite authors. What a bonus, to see that she also has a stand-alone out, as well! Thanks for the info.


  4. Kathy D.

    So, is a Gothic’s characteristic that it’s set in a big house or mansion? So this is still Gothic although set in a school? Why is this Elly Griffith book a “Gothic” thriller?


    1. Hi Kathy – Gothic features include: large house which is now a school, a room assumed to be haunted, a text of a ghost story which may have relevance to the present day, high suspense/death fear. 🙂


  5. Tom Priestly

    I have read both the Griffiths and theTaylor books that you review recently. I did not find the former one up to her usual standard, maybe because she is out of her element in the chosen Italian setting. Andrew Taylor, however, has always been one of my real favourites, and when I finished the second in his “Ashes of London” series, I am impatient for the third, which from his last chapter is obviously planned. His Roth series is also outstanding, as is “The American Boy”. Pick up **any** of his books — even the more traditional Lydmouith Series — and you will never be disappointed.


  6. Kathy D.

    The ghost story element is usually not my cup of tea, unless it’s part of a culture’s beliefs.
    I am enjoying the Mary Torjussen book, second night up till all hours turning pages. I did guess some of the plot but not all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kathy D.

    Yes, Sarah, it is a good psychological suspense as far as this genre goes. Better than many, even if I guessed the relationships and the culprit. But not all of it.
    But I got nothing done for two days and nights and read a book which has no social or educational value, but I was distracted and pulled in.
    I dread to start Torjussen’s first book or read the Sharpena you list here. I’ll be a sloth not getting anything done. I did write an article on the Argentinian women’s movement meanwhile, so not all frivolous time. But sometimes a person just has to dive in and read for diversion.
    Torjussen is better than many psychological suspense writers and she has modern views about women and abuse and marriage, which I appreciate.


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