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Publisher's Summary

A team of archaeologists, investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. How long have they been there? What could have happened to them? Forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are drawn together again 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. But someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way... even murder.

©2011 Elly Griffiths (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The House at Sea's End

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sara
  • 02-01-15

A Shaky Series Installment

Not sure what to think about this third book in Elly Griffiths' spooky mystery series set in wild coastal Norfolk. I loved the first two books and I save these titles in my library as treats to be enjoyed and looked forward to. I should have known something was up when several other reviewers queried--and I quote here--if Griffiths wasn't going barmy? I confess I had to look up the exact meaning of the term barmy. It may be apt.

The book was convoluted and rambling and at times beyond comprehension as it was so outside of what I would consider normal personal and even police behavior. In a way it was like listening to a family member--still half asleep retelling a long mixed up dream they had just had and wanted you to sort out for them. Some things just don't make any sense.

In addition, there are four or maybe even five major errors in the storyline. I can't elaborate here as I hate plot spoilers--but someone--author or an editor should have picked up these problems. I have read other reviews that found errors that I missed and I am not counting those in my list. This gives me further pause.

In the end the story works itself to a neat close but these characters are becoming not just flawed but frankly unlikable. On the whole the book was just too sloppy and careless for my taste. Proceed with caution is my best advice on this one.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sires
  • 03-07-11

4 Star Narration, Story Not Up to Par

Jane McDowell who did the excellent narration of the two prior books in this series again does a great job with this third in the series. No complaints about the production.

Ruth's determination to raise her daughter without assistance from the father however is daft. Ruth discovers the problems with dealing with the practicality of child rearing as a single mother while the father clearly wishes to be involved both personally and financially with his daughter. Due to the determination that the relationship must be kept secret things get more and more confused.

Meanwhile in addition to the usual cast of characters, a friend of Ruth's from a prior stint in Bosnia shows up. A woman whose son, husband and parents were killed in the conflict there. Then there are people whose parents and grandparents were involved with WWII and a secret that it seems someone is willing to go to extremes to protect.

Ruth really doesn't have any serious problems with being a single mother as her friends rally around to provide assistance and support. Meanwhile bodies pile up but Ruth doesn't have that much detecting to do. I'm not sure where the author is going with this series, but I am not looking forward to forensic anthropology with a toddler. Unfortunately, at the end of the book I felt that things in the personal story arc were unresolved and I'm not sure I'm really interested in the resolution. Let's have some more archaeology please..

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • CL
  • 01-09-13

I love this series!

Would you consider the audio edition of The House at Sea's End to be better than the print version?

I don't understand the reasoning behind the several negative reviews of this book - I'm typically swayed in my purchase choices by user reviews but having enjoyed the other installments of this series so much, decided to ignore them and go for it anyway....I'm so glad I did! I enjoyed this book just as much as the others! It's a great listen!

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Paula
  • 09-05-16

Just Okay -- Not Much More

In addition to some serious plot issues, another major criticism of this book is the narration. While some sections were narrated excellently and eloquently, it seemed to me that way too much emphasis was put on the first word(s) (usually a name) in every succeeding paragraph. These words/names were simply shouted and as such, broke into the pace and flow of the story. As for the story itself, there were just too many gaps for my liking -- I don't want to list them because it might spoil the story for others -- but things just didn't hang together and needed a good bit of backgrounding by the author. As a result, it was difficult to develop any empathy for the characters and in the end, it just didn't matter who survived and who didn't. Story 3 stars; narration 2!

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-09-12

Don't know if I care what happens next

The character development that made me want to continue the series was a real turn off in this book. I don't believe we all have to fatally flawed to be interesting. Every character doesn't have to be a caricature.

Harry and Ruth are turning into a regular little soap opera. I don't know if I'll read the last installment. Lord knows I'm not a writer so take my criticisms as what they are, an average reader with little tase for melodrama.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robert J. Day
  • 02-11-14

Accuracy

Would you consider the audio edition of The House at Sea's End to be better than the print version?

In the books the detectives are reviewing a list of books in chapter 16. the hounds of the Baskerville (sp) as written by " Sherlock Holmes" It was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

What did you like best about this story?

The story and English characters.

What does Jane McDowell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The dialogue and English characters. It is like listening to the radio of my youth.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not extreme just comfortable.

Any additional comments?

I write this review to note the accuracy of that one instance and wonder if it was an author's mistake or the narrator's mistake.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 20-02-12

British style of modern mystery story

Would you listen to The House at Sea's End again? Why?

I would happily listen to another story by the same author.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It had enough twists and turns to keep me interested

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Narrator did a good job with the array of accents and otherwise did not outshine the story - which is the point.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

This was a comfort book. Nice every day tale of small British towns and the mud found underneath the surface.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lia
  • 24-09-20

Third Good Mystery In This Series

The House at Sea’s End is the third book in the Ruth Galloway series. Ruth has given birth to her daughter and is returning to work, with all the challenges involved with being a single parent added to one who lives in a remote location. In her role as an advisor to the police on bones, she is asked to investigate a set of human remains found in the inlet of a beach. There turns out to be more than one set of bones, bound together. The evidence points to these being WWII era. In an uneasy investigation with Harry Nelson. During the war, there were rumors of invasion by the Germans and the Home Guard units actively patrolled the coastline. In contacting the former members, a series of suspicious circumstances arise, and when a journalist from Germany arrives claiming knowledge of the men and a secret operation by the British, things begin to get complex. On a personal note, Ruth is managing the visit of an old friend, and trying to manage her feelings for Harry and his feelings for her daughter. The mystery leads them on a chase to find murderers both in the past and the present.

Jane McDowell was excellent with the delivery of the story

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Janet H. Maddox
  • 13-06-14

Enjoyable

Griffiths flawed characters are interesting and ring true. The stories are engaging - enough mystery to satisfy - but the best part is the story of the ongoing characters.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • David English
  • 10-01-20

What the heck happened?

The first two entries into Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series are above average, fun mystery stories with interesting characters and a hint of drama. The House at Sea's End, the third entry, is an exercise is melodrama and tedium that drops off incredibly hard from the previous two books and both frustrates and disappoints.

The mystery presented within the story itself is fascinating, with Ruth needing to assist the police after a collection of bodies are found in a hillside, This could have been the best mystery yet in the Galloway series and involves a lot of really unusual elements like war crimes, coverups, and the faults of patriotism. But none of that matters, unfortunately, because the mystery is presented in the most unfitting and by the numbers way imaginable and in the end comes to almost nothing and has no real consequence for anyone involved.. It's basically a clone of the last two books but done without any sort of energy, and the way these books hit the same beats over and over again is almost hilarious. And I guarantee you will not guess who the villain is, because by the time they showed up I forgot they were even a character in the story.

But what REALLY kills this book is the insane pacing where the brunt of it is dedicated to character drama. The mystery is set in the backseat as really contrived soap opera stuff happens to all of the familiar characters. No one quite seems to be their normal selves, particularly Ruth, who is absolutely insufferable in this book and has somehow transformed from a headstrong woman who has a problem with being self critical into a crying, selfish idiot who has a habit of being just terrible to people around her for no reason. Nelson is acting completely illogical and expects the impossible to work out fine, and at one point in the book two characters who have barely even interacted throughout the series are abruptly paired together in the most contrived, lifetime movie-esque way possible. This would all be fine in other circumstances; it's not like characters have to be perfect or likable. But as portrayed in this story, almost everyone might as well just be a different person.

Jane Mcdowell does her best with the material in this story, but even she sounds unconvincing portraying Ruth's histrionics in this. Still, she's by far the best part of this audiobook. This one is a great big "avoid". It made me think less of the characters and really discouraged as far as continuing the series went. If you really must, skip it and move onto the next book which is a bit better.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ann D
  • 05-03-16

My favourite out of the first three!

What did you like most about The House at Sea's End?

Ruth Galloway is a wonderful character (fiesty, feminist, athiest, fallible). In this third book, the tension between her and Nelson builds excellently, and I found the story more contemporary and easier to follow for that.

Have you listened to any of Jane McDowell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Her narration is generally excellent, but in the first two books in the series, her voicing of Nelson was pretty bad - far to high in tone and a bit manic, not to mention a terrible attempt at the Lancashire accent. Due to this, I couldn't give her narration more than 4* for those books. Here, she has dramatically improved this. The Lancashire accent remains a bit dodgy, but her voicing of Nelson is now really good.

Any additional comments?

Looking forward to the next in the series. I'm off now to buy it!

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • EssexSue
  • 06-01-12

Norfolk Gem!

Loved this book as it reminded me of the Norfolk coast and it seemed to have a lot of the locale where we lived in the book. Very good story and well read. I became immersed so deeply it was difficult to take breaks as I just wanted to continue on and on.

If you love a good murder mystery and are in or have lived/holidayed in Norfolk I'm sure you will love this book!

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DrLMW
  • 18-12-11

Gripping

This was my introduction to Ruth Galloway: I didn't realise this was the 3rd book in the series (1. Crossing Places 2. Janus Stone). However, that didn't matter because the story and characterization are complete: you don't need to have read the first two books to enjoy this one.
I liked the narrative pace, which allowed the complex psychology of the different characters time to unfold. I was also kept guessing about the identity of the murderer. I particularly liked the descriptions of the bleak Norfolk landscape.
Jane McDowell reads well, although her Norfolk accent lapses into a kind of generic Archers-countryfolk accent at times.

18 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 12-04-17

Beginning to be repetitive but still compelling

This is the third novel I’ve listened to in the series featuring forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway. I definitely benefitted from listening in chronological order as the relationships among the characters develop with time. As in earlier books the formula is a find of the bones of a body (or bodies in this case) from the past that then gets linked to a contemporary crime. The bones in this story are mid 20th Century. I enjoyed meeting familiar characters and hear what was happening in their lives coupled with an interesting historical story. The archeological parts are informative, however I was disappointed that yet another book in the series ends with Ruth’s life being in jeopardy. I appreciate that this is fiction but it has to be reasonably credible and so I find it ridiculous that a university lecturer consulted about the age of bones would invariably end up in fear of her life. The stories are good enough without the frantic endings. However, rather like The Archers the lives of the characters becomes addictive and I will continue with the series even though I suspect I’d be annoyed by the ending.

The narrator is excellent and can turn her voice to many accents.

14 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-01-19

Awful narrator

On chapter 21 and still not gripped. Very disappointed. Doesn’t help that narrator only seems to be able to do Irish/Scottish? as an alternative accent! She keeps mixing up the accents too. Sorry but won’t be downloading anymore due to this

11 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • katejmac
  • 13-11-18

Dreadful narration

Not being able to read books anymore I love audible but my experience is always spoilt by narrators that over dramatise. Not only that, the accents were dreadful I’ve lived in Norfolk for 32 years and I’ve never heard anyone speak like this. The Norfolk accent isn’t half northern and half West Country. The story itself was ok a bit predictable in parts but not a bad story.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wendy
  • 30-04-15

Just b read it or get an acting job!

why oh why the dramatisation of the authors words. The author has already dramatised it . b annoying when the reader shouts the words 'she shouted'. I am listening as I go to sleep. I don't want to be shouted at!

10 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Felicity
  • 23-06-15

Narrator is the worst part

Good story, but bizarre accents during narration are off-putting! I would recommend the story though.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Julie Bail
  • 01-01-13

disappointment in a good series

I enjoyed Elly Griffiths' other books, the Janus Stone and the Crossing Places, but this was disappointing.



There is unnecessary repetitive background from book one used as a shortcut to establishing characters, and a crowded, poorly structured plot.



Don't start with this one, but don't miss the others either.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Beverley
  • 15-07-20

Love interest SUB plot

I enjoy a love interest sub plot but this has turned into a horrendous mills & boon / soap opera / reality TV type of thing. Unbearable! I know longer care who killed whom! I turned it off, feeling contempt.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rachel
  • 18-03-15

Thoroughly enjoyed.

I don't understand some of the reviews I have read for this book. It is very much the authors same style as the other two in this series. Highly recommended as intelligent, entertaining and suspenseful reading. Elly has a refreshingly different style of writing from the normal in this genre.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 16-03-22

Great mix of mystery romance and some history

Other negative reviews nearly turned me away. I enjoyed the character development, the plot lines through the series and of course this issue’s plot.
Enjoyable!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill
  • 02-08-20

A definite Rugh Galloway fan!

Love this series... Such clever intertwining of archaeology, crime suspense and romance. once again enthralled from start to end

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Yvonne Purcell
  • 13-04-15

Not for me.

Boring dislikable characters. Weak and predictable story line.
I was expecting better going by the five star review. Very disappointing.