THE HOUSE AT SEA’S END is the third book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. Ruth is an archeologist and a professor at a university in Norfolk. She is also the mother of an infant daughter and, although she refuse to identify the father of the baby to her friends, readers know that he is DCI Harry Nelson. In this book,as in the others, old bones and new bones have a way of showing up in the same places.
The coast of Norfolk in England is constantly changing, and changing quickly, through erosion. When the rock face of a cliff above the beach falls away, the bones of six men are found in a crevice. Clearly these bones are much more recent than those Ruth usually studies. Ruth is sure that they have bee in the crevice for about seventy years. A test proves that they belong to men who came from Germany. There have been stories told for almost sixty years about an invasion by the Germans during World War II.
Ruth seeks out Hugh Anselm and Archie Whitcliffe. Both had been members of the Home Guard, coast watchers, because they had been too young to enlist. Ruth tells both men that the bodies showed that the men were executed, shot in the base of the neck. These young soldiers were not killed as a consequence of war. Both men refuse to talk to Ruth, explaining that they had taken a blood oath to never reveal anything about the deaths. Although Archie and Hugh are old men, they are healthy and their minds are clear. Their sudden deaths convince Harry that they have been murdered.
As the death toll rises, it becomes obvious that someone is terrified of what will happen when tbis long buried secret is revealed.
I enjoy this series. I like Ruth and Harry. their colleagues in the police, and I like Cathbad, Ruth’s friend who is a Druid. THE HOUSE AT SEA’S END is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The bodies may pile up but there isn’t any gore or suffering on the page.