There is one Ruth Galloway character who never disappoints, who never acts out-of-character for the sake of a cheesy story line, and it’s the Druid, Cathbad (Real Name: Michael Malone). In the very first Ruth Galloway mystery, The Crossing Places, he was a suspect in a child’s disappearance. Nelson kept uncovering layers of his past, it turned out he had some connection to the family of the disappeared girl. He was eventually cleared of all charges, and he and Nelson developed an unusual relationship. Nelson saved his life, and he saved Nelson’s. Now, Nelson feels a grudging respect — even, affection — for him.

With each succeeding book, Cathbad just keeps getting more and more interesting. When he shaved off his beard, he looked younger — even, good-looking. He wears his hair in a graying ponytail but is unexpectedly strong. He stole the heart of DI Judy Johnson, and they have two children together.

In The Lantern Men, he manages to scare off a man with a knife who has attacked Phil Trent, the head of the archaeology department at the university where Ruth teaches.

“Phil will survive,” says Cathbad, “but this will have repercussions. We are all threads in the tapestry of life.”

Ruth can almost hear Nelson’s voice saying ‘bollocks’, Judy seems unmoved. She probably gets enough of this sort of thing at home.

“Where did it happen?” she asks.

“Near Tuesday Market Place in Lynn,” says Cathbad. “Did you know that a witch’s heart is buried in the wall there? She was burned at the stake and her heart flew out and into the side of a house.”

The Lantern Men, p. 106

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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