Socialist Worker

The Night Hawks—a crime novel where the real drama is people’s lives

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2741

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

There is a great cast of characters in The Night Hawks—and for many, you are kept guessing about their true natures.

It’s the latest instalment in the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths. This might sound like some awful twee collection of old-fashioned stories, but it isn’t.

Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, lectures at the local university and enjoys digging up old bones. But she is repeatedly called in to help the cops when more recent bones are uncovered.

You don’t need to have read the rest of the series to enjoy this novel. Like many crime or thriller books, much is made of the cast and the setting.

Descriptions of the Norfolk landscape are beautiful and desolate.

Sometimes the plot seems secondary to the real drama taking place in people’s lives. You are quickly pulled into the back stories of the characters and their conflicts.

The plot centres around a group of metal detectorists, the Night Hawks, who find a dead body on the beach. Soon afterwards two more bodies are discovered at a farm house, in what appears to be a murder-suicide of the couple that lived there.

The reader learns more about the links between the various characters as the book progresses. There are many revelations that I didn’t expect, particularly regarding the character of David, a new recruit of Ruth’s.

There are also little details that help to show up how wrong stereotypes can be, especially with Michelle, wife of DCI Nelson.

Initially, I didn’t feel as gripped with the storyline as I have been with other novels. But I became more interested largely because of how well-written the characters are.

And the fact that it has made me want to read the rest of the series is probably a good sign.

The Night Hawks, by Elly Griffiths. Out now

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Tue 9 Feb 2021, 14:02 GMT
Issue No. 2741
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