Today I’m delighted to feature author Elly Griffiths whose books I’ve been reading and acquiring for a while. However, you may not be aware that Elly began writing under her her own name – Domenica de Rosa. Her books cover multi genres featuring crime, mystery and romance – so something for everyone.
Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Stephens and Mephisto series is based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.
So over to Elly:-
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen. Like Ruth, I’m a huge Springsteen fan. I could have chosen any of his songs but I’ve gone for this one because it contains the line ‘I’m sick of sitting around here trying to write this book’.
Every Day I Write the Book by Elvis Costello
Va Pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco. I’m half Italian and love Italian opera. This aria, about longing for your homeland, is sometimes called the unofficial Italian anthem and Verdi himself was a symbol of Italian unification (his name was meant to stand for Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia).
The Internationale. The older I get the more international I feel.
Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Because ‘every little thing’s gonna be all right’.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My Fiat 500
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much
Remember to write in your diary
People don’t change so accept them as they are
You know those photos you hate now? One day you’ll love them
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I’m distantly related to Dante
I’ve kept a diary since I was 11
I used to write Starsky and Hutch fan fiction
I swim in the sea all year round
I’m a keen horse-rider
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Swim with dolphins
See the horses at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna
Visit Las Vegas
See the Great Barrier Reef (before it disappears)
Thanks so much for joining us Elly. How exciting to be distantly related to Dante, writing literally is in your genes. Starting with your diary, you were clearly destined to write and luckily for us you didn’t stop. Good luck with achieving your bucket list!
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A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?
Clare Cassidy is no stranger to tales of murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer R.M. Holland, she teaches a short course on them every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an R.M. Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.
Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers…
The Ruth Galloway Mysteries
DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?
Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.
As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.
Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!
So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect.
Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the stories both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast community of rough sleepers living in the old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?
As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.
When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in Walsingham’s graveyard, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear that a horrible crime has been committed, and DCI Nelson and his team are called in for what is now a murder investigation.
Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that she is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.
Then another woman is murdered – a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…
When DCI Harry Nelson calls Ruth Galloway in to investigate a body found inside a buried fighter plane, she quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot. DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea.
Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger remaining Blackstocks.
Then human bones are found on the farm and, as the greatest storm Norfolk has seen for decades brews in the distance, another Blackstock is attacked. Can the team outrace the rising flood to find the killer?
Ruth has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, which was once a prison. The body may be that of Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged for the murder of five children.
DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-ago killers. Investigating the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that their mother is responsible.
Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson.
Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, spends a lot of time looking at death. But now death has found her, with the news that her long-time friend and ex-colleague Dan Golding has been killed in a house fire.
Ruth’s grief soon turns to suspicion of arson when she receives a desperate letter from Dan, sent the day before he died. He had made a ground-breaking discovery that he was sure would change archaeology forever – and was petrified of the consequences.
Ruth feels compelled to travel north to investigate further, alongside DCI Harry Nelson who is also drawn into the case. But where Ruth goes, so does her young daughter, Kate. This time, the risks are even higher.
It is Halloween in King’s Lynn, and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is attending a strange event at the local history museum – the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But then Ruth finds the body of the museum’s curator lying beside the coffin.
Soon the museum’s wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but DCI Harry Nelson isn’t convinced, and it is only a matter of time before Ruth and Nelson cross paths once more.
When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth’s friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the Aboriginal ritual of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths – and be the key to their own survival.
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in by a team of archaeologists investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, when they unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. They seem to have been there a very long time. Ruth must help discover how long, and how on earth they got there.
Ruth and DCI Nelson are drawn together once more to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion.
Ruth thought she knew the history of Norfolk – she’s about to find out just how wrong she was, and how far someone will go to keep their secrets buried.
Dr Ruth Galloway’s forensic skills are called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child – minus the skull – beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? Ruth links up with DCI Harry Nelson to investigate.
The house was once a children’s home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing forty years before – a boy and a girl. They were never found.
When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is desperate to put her off the scent by frightening her to death.
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?
DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.
But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…
The Stephens and Mephisto Mysteries
What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto to find out.
Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…
Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.
Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.
Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .
Brighton, 1950s, mid-winter. Two missing children are found buried under snow in this chilling new case for DI Stephens and Max Mephisto. Max’s star turn in Aladdin has been overshadowed by the murder of two local children. With fairy tales in the air, it’s not long before the press have found a nickname for the case: ‘Hansel and Gretel’.
DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The missing girl, Annie, used to write plays and perform them with her friends. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric actor types who have assembled for the pantomime?
Once again Edgar enlists Max’s help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?
When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.
The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.
Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.
Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer’s sights…
Writing as Domenico de Rosa
Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.
Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.
As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.
A heartfelt, witty story of one woman’s journey from heartbreak to adventure, full of gorgeous Italian flavour.
Emily Robertson looks like the woman who has it all: the lovingly restored Tuscan farmhouse, the three beautiful children, the successful, attentive husband. But when her husband dumps her by text message, she has to face up to some stark home truths. How will Emily cope, stranded in the countryside with no man, no money, dodgy phrasebook Italian and a psychotic cleaner? Her eldest girl is out of her depth with the local seducer, her middle daughter is dangerously underweight, and her darling baby is fast becoming a brat. But soon Emily finds herself being drawn into the village of Monte Albano, and discovering a more genuine Italy, darker and more intriguing than she had ever imagined. She and her children are outsiders no more – and if she can get over a slightly embarrasing obsession with her youthful first love, an attractive stranger might be about to show her the time of her life…
Gaby, the youngest of the de Angelis sisters, always secretly knew she was her father Enzo’s favourite; so when Enzo dies on the day her own daughter is born, her life is turned upside down.
In the emotional aftermath of the funeral, it emerges that her father has asked that his ashes be taken back his native city, Rome. Suddenly, Gaby and her new family are thrown headfirst into the wider de Angelis clan, and all of their conflicting ideas and opinions.
As the family journeys to Rome to say a final goodbye to Enzo, emotions run high; but none higher than Gaby’s, as she comes face to face with the man she once thought she would marry, and is forced to question everything of which, until now, she was so sure.
Sophie is only a quarter Italian. But that quarter is her charismatic grandfather Cesare, and he has instilled in her a great love of her Italian heritage. So when a journalist starts to investigate Cesare’s war record, Sophie reluctantly questions just how proud she should really be. She embarks upon a journey into the past which takes her from nineteenth-century Naples to London’s Italian quarter and one of the war’s forgotten tragedies. And along the way she also learns something very important about herself…
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