The Woman in Blue : Ruth Galloway

  • by Elly Griffiths
  • Narrated by Jane McDowell
  • Series: Ruth Galloway
  • 9 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The murder of women priests in the shrine town of Walsingham sucks Dr. Ruth Galloway into an unholy investigation.
Ruth's friend, Cathbad, is housesitting in Walsingham, a Norfolk village famous as a centre for pilgrimages to the Virgin Mary. One night, Cathbad sees a strange vision in the graveyard beside the cottage: a young woman dressed in blue. Cathbad thinks that he may have seen the Madonna herself, but the next morning the woman's body, dressed in a white nightdress and blue dressing gown, is found in a ditch outside Walsingham.
DCI Nelson and his team are called in and establish that the dead woman was a recovering addict being treated at a nearby private hospital. Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her 17 years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend, Hilary Smithson, asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that her friend is now a priest.
Hilary 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 reenactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before he strikes again....

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A subtle change of direction for Ruth?

Interesting. I've just finished this and found it quite surprising on more than one level. Norfolk is a lovely, historical county but in all honesty how many archeological murder mysteries can it really provide, and how could Elly Griffiths sustain the theme?

The answer seems to be by subtly changing direction. This, the 8th book, is far less archaeology - hardly any at all. It's also far less about Ruth (though she's still integral), and puts the police team of Nelson, Dave Clough, Tim and Tania into the centre. Even Cathbad has only a minor role and there's more Michelle, less Judy. Relationships move on, but no spoilers.

No spoilers on the plot either, but feels a more mainstream detective story than normal. There is still the myth, legend and mystery aspects, but it's more straightforward murder than the previous seven, if that doesn't sound too callous. It still has the red herrings we can count on from Ms Griffiths. It's a strongly religion based theme, with quite topical aspects around the ordination of women. Overall, far less edge of the seat scary stuff, more Morse. No big yellow rubber duck though!

That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it - I did. I've already googled Walsingham for weekend breaks! In a month or so I'll listen again to see if I should have spotted the perpetrator earlier.

The Arthurian book, The Dying Fall, is still my personal favourite, but this is a good book, worth listening to, and hopefully by that subtle change of emphasis the series can continue and not get stale. Looking forward to seeing if other reviewers agree...
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- Maggie

Another engaging myster

Would you consider the audio edition of The Woman in Blue to be better than the print version?

Not having read the print version, I have no idea; but this series has transferred well to audio format. There is a good balance of dialogue and narrative so that it keeps moving on well.


What did you like best about this story?

I am particularly enjoying the ongoing development of the backstory, as the main characters (Ruth, Nelson. Clough and the rest) continue through their lives. The author has also chosen another interesting sidelight as the setting for her mystery, in the Walshingham Shrine. As other reviewers have mentioned, Ruth has far less to do 'professionally' in this book (there is little archaeology can add to the investigation) but to be honest I felt the author's aracheological knowledge was beginning to become a bit repetitive as the series went on, so it may be wise of her to broaden out if she wishes to continue to develop these characters.


Which character – as performed by Jane McDowell – was your favourite?

I very much enjoy the depiction of Ruth; she is an honest character: not beautiful, not always right, but intelligent, thoughtful , kind and believable, and I always want to know how life develops for her.


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- Kl Love

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-02-2016
  • Publisher: Quercus