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The Lantern Men

Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries, Book 12
Written by: Elly Griffiths
Narrated by: Jane McDowell
Series: Ruth Galloway
Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.   

She has a new job, home and partner and is no longer North Norfolk police's resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Amyas March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried - but only if Ruth will do the digging.  

Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.   

Is Amyas March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?  

©2020 Elly Griffiths (P)2020 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic Reviews

"My favourite current series." (Val McDermid)

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  • Nutmeg
  • 11-02-20

Wonderful

I’ve loved all the Dr Ruth Galloway books. If only I hadn’t listened to them all so quickly. This one is as good as all its predecessors.

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  • Miss
  • 09-02-20

Does the author not proof-listen to these?

Probably a minor thing to people who don't know Norfolk but the narrator mispronounced placenames throughout and I would have thought that someone at the publishers or the author would have clarified this before or during recording. Cley is pronounced 'clay', not "cly' Stiifkey is pronounced 'stewkey' not 'stiff-key'. The narrator said 'Cly' so many times I was starting to doubt myself and I live in Norfolk!

That aside I have been waiting for this latest book to come out for ages, so was glad to have another episode of Ruth's life to listen to. The plot was a bit weak, without some of the suspense of earlier novels - the concept was perhaps not strong enough. I would like there to have been more on Ruth and Nelson's relationship - that is what makes me come back to this series always, but it was fleeting and unsatisfactory.

For fans of the series I would recommend listening, but I am personally hoping the next one will be better.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Sararara
  • 08-02-20

Flat as a Norfolk landscape

The chief suspect is called Ivor, not Amyas as the audible synopsis states. Presumably the writer saw the slight allusion to Agatha Christie’s Five Little Pigs, concerning wrongful conviction.
This was a curiously mundane instalment in the series without any local history or the usual moral and ethical dilemmas.
Catholicism and paganism didn’t feature in this storyline either, which meant no real role for Cathbad other than as a childminder, again.
Focused on events at a writers’ retreat, the first third of the book involved the police showing different people a variety of group photos and listing who was in them, again and again.
By the end the long list of victims and potential baddies was so long that they all became fuzzy and indistinct.
During the climactic action on the salt marsh it was tricky to identify the protagonist as the whole event seemed like a re-run of The Crossing Places finale.
A noticeable theme in this instalment was the ageing of the main characters. While the previous book seemed to be gearing up to concluding the series, this one suggests there will be more. I just hope they’re a little more engaging.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Alan
  • 12-02-20

Disappointing, no archaeology and weak story.

Feels as though after ten years this series is slipping into comfortable middle age and becoming very formulaic. The history side of this series has always been of real interest but this has become much more about midlife relationships held together by a weak and barely credible story line. Having read all the previous books I don't think I will stay with the series any further.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anne A
  • 08-02-20

Great until the last two pages....

I've read all of the books in this series and this one was very much up to standard. There were some really tense moments and the climax on the salt marshes was particularly well written. Some very credible, if unpleasant, characters and I didn't spot the murderer which is always a plus. Overall I really enjoyed it and I thought the narration was excellent. For me the last couple of pages (which for the avoidance of doubt have nothing to do with the resolution of the plot) were really annoying, but I can see why they were necessary in terms of the series. I'd definitely recommend ig to other fans of the author, and people who enjoy police procedurals with a bit of archeology thrown in.


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  • Andromeda's Twin
  • 07-02-20

Wow

I was just thinking that Ruth Galloway had lost her charm and then along comes 'The Lantern Men'.

I was delighted as, no doubt, was everyone else, that Ruth had finally managed to tear herself away from her destructive relationship with Nelson, but then, the siren call of an 'investigation' calls her back to Norfolk from her cozy new home in Cambridge (I was shocked - yet delighted - that she'd managed to make the break frankly) . The new case is all Ruth needs to head on back to Nelson who she misses more than the salt marsh itself, so sad, but so very provocative.

The story is a stonker whichever parts you love, the investigation or the Ruth and Nelson interplay, and Jane McDowell narrates it perfectly as always. I cannot recommend this enough. A lovely adddition to the series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Chennell
  • 10-02-20

Found this one s bit dull

Have read all her books and usually quite like them but found this one long winded and dull.. but most of all am so sick of her shoving her own religious and political views down our throats, to the point that even though I generally agree with her ,am now so tired of it am unlikely to read anymore..

4 people found this helpful

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  • Ellie Baker
  • 07-02-20

Wonderful

As always with Elly Griffiths it was fantastic. A beautiful journey through a gripping story. I listened to the end with mouth open burning for more. I will await the next installment as impatiently as always!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn
  • 07-02-20

Brilliant, as always

I’ve loved the entire series, each book is better than the last. Really looking forward to the next one.

4 people found this helpful

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  • heather crispin
  • 11-02-20

back on form

the last book I was disappointed with but this one is right back on track - brilliant story. I do feel it is time she moved on - she was unfair to Frank and she has messed `Kate about.

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  • Carol
  • 10-02-20

Just gets better

Having waited for the next exciting adventure from Elly Griffiths, the Lantern Men does not disappoint. What a fabulous cast of characters and tight plot. This series needs to be savored like good red wine, sipped slowly and thoroughly enjoyed. Well done!

2 people found this helpful

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  • elizabeth b.
  • 12-02-20

Oh hell this is so dreary

Dreary for two reasons the narrator has such a one note voice and the story is so dreary. The story is filled with characters (so many names) and the main character constantly talks about what happened in books before. Who cares. I’m afraid I don’t. I got to an hour before the finish. I sort of wanted to find out the killer but the decided I really didn’t care.

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  • DebManning
  • 07-05-20

last book

one of my very favourite series. I love Ruth and Harry and their extended family and friends. Unattainable love is something most people have experienced. I love all the intermingled convoluted stories of love and children just sitting in the background. I hope we see more of all of them.

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  • Roderic
  • 06-03-20

Still enjoying the series

I know there are better crime thrillers out there but I have grown accustomed to - and attached to - the characters and will read the next book when and if it appears.

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  • Kealani
  • 03-03-20

Wonderful continuation of the series

Enjoyed the story continuation, love the narrators calm and serene voice. Can’t wait for more

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-02-20

keep getting better

another great story with the well loved characters. Elly Griffith's continues to delve deeper into the character's personalities and relationships.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-02-20

Disappointing

Very slow moving, so slow that I wasn’t bothered about the outcome. The involved relationships were unnecessary, they did not clarify the plot.

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  • Bonita N. Jones
  • 12-02-20

Long wait but so worth it

I am a big fan of Ruth and co, so it stands to reason that I loved this latest installment. LJ Ross's writing makes you feel as if you know these characters really well and as a result , like them immensely. I would love to visit that part of England one day, I think I love it already. Cannot wait for more of Dr Galloway