Detective Sergeant Tanya Fuller

Self had her first It’s It in decades.

She went to the library and checked out a new book: Katherine Addison’s The Witness for the Dead (Surprisingly thin! The Goblin Emperor, which is the only other Katherine Addison book self has read, was a hefty tome)

She bought a few sundries from Bianchini’s in San Carlos and the bill came to $39 (She bought 13-gallon garbage bags, 10 0z. of Peet’s Dark Roast, a small container of cubed watermelon)

She is on p. 244 of Book # 12 of Elly Griffiths’ powerfully addictive Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series (She keeps complaining about the plots, but is unable to stop reading). Detective Sergeant Tanya Fuller interviews a witness:

She shows Crissy a photograph of the pumpkin badge.

“Do you recognize this?”

“It’s a Hallowe’en thing, isn’t it? I don’t like Hallowe’en as a holiday. Why dwell on the darkness in life?”

Don’t ask me, thinks Tanya. You’re the one who was married to a serial killer.

The Lantern Men, Book 12 of the Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series

Stay tuned.

Further Into The Lantern Men

Today, self returned The Last Graduate to the library, having read to p. 80. It was so . . . talk-y? And she’s not that into Dark Academy fiction — there is a reason she never got into Harry Potter.

She is plowing on with The Lantern Men. The Cathbad/Judy sections are quite enjoyable. As are the Ruth-takes-Kate-swimming-and-gets-palpitations section. There was one sweet Ruth/Nelson scene (No touching, no what-ifs, just a pleasant conversation in a country pub. Oh well done, you two!)

Ruth stays late in her office in Cambridge University and hears strange sounds. These turn out to be the janitor (Pheeew!). Then she takes her 11-year-old to see the girlfriend of a serial killer because she’s imposed too much on her boyfriend already, she can’t ask him for one more babysitting favor. This creepy girlfriend has been writing threatening notes to Phil Trent (Ruth’s former boss), Phil Trent has just been attacked by an unknown assailant with a knife, and Ruth takes her daughter to see her. WHY, RUTH, WHY?

While Ruth converses with the girlfriend of the serial killer, she leaves her 11-year-old unattended outside. It’s quite safe, right? Right? What could happen? When Ruth looks for her daughter afterwards, her daughter is conversing WITH A STRANGE MAN. He says he’s the gardener but there is something really shady about him.

This is one of those moments when self thinks maybe she should have stuck with The Last Graduate a little longer. But here we are. (She’s well on her way to meeting her 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge of 37 books — 12 of those books are the Dr. Ruth Galloway series. Who knew?)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

New Police Recruit: Tony Zhang

Self is still hanging with the cheese, sorry. She thought by now she would have come to her senses.

Newp!

It’s ride or die with Ruth/Nelson. They’ll be in their seventies, she’ll still be reading this series. She has absolutely nothing to say in her defense. Other than, it’s summer. And it’s been a hard couple of years.

“Didn’t the gardener chap — John — say that Leonard was gay? I read it in the notes.”

Judy is pleased that Tony has read the case notes. She wonders whether Tony himself is gay, not that she’d ever ask. She certainly doesn’t want to assume he is just because he knows the right things to say about art. She realizes that she doesn’t know much about the new recruit. He’s a graduate, fast-tracked to CID. He lives in Lynn and drives an old VW Beetle that Judy rather admires. Beyond that, he’s a blank.

The Lantern Men, p. 137

Surrender to the Cheese

That is what she tells herself: Do not judge, you like what you like.

She has set aside The Last Graduate — the universe was too difficult, too much a blend of Harry Potter, Survivor, and 90210 — and is back to reading another Dr. Ruth Galloway book, The Lantern Men. She’s skipped a couple of earlier books but has realized it is best to read each book in the series as if it’s a standalone. Otherwise, it gets too frustrating: there is no development of the Ruth/Nelson relationship, from book to book. There is the occasional hook-up, and that is all.

In this installment, there is a delicious development: Ruth gets properly yelled at. By her current lover. An American TV personality named Frank. It is obvious to Frank, as well as to this reader, that she is simply using Frank for S.E.X. because Nelson is married and therefore only occasionally available.

Ruth’s job, Frank yells, is to be “a university lecturer.” And then he does this supposedly very American thing, he calls Ruth “honey.”

Is Frank toast?

Definitely.

Nelson fetches Ruth so she can visit a serial murderer in prison. To add to the excitement, Nelson is a terrible driver: “Nelson swerves to overtake a caravan. Ruth shuts her eyes. She opens them; they are still alive and the road is clear.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wild Chase Scene, The Chalk Pit

Self knows these Ruth Galloway posts of hers are much less popular than her posts of flowers. Nevertheless.

Every Ruth Galloway book ends with a chase scene. Self should know, this is her ninth.

Why does she keep reading? Why?

Who knows? Maybe it’s those goodreads reviews that said there was a hook-up between the two Mains, that ends on a cliff-y.

What? Another cliff-y? She can’t believe it. For the nth time, a cliff-y? But here she is.

Also, if she had a penny for every time Ruth calls Nelson (although Ruth, mind you, always always always feels such trepidation for doing so, he being married to someone else after all) and he answers, “Ruth? What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” — ! She’s becoming quite fond of this way of answering the phone, though. (Where is that promised hook-up? There’s only 50 pages left!) In fact, if Nelson were ever to answer the phone without saying, “What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” self would be very disappointed.

He has just said it again, unfortunately this time Ruth isn’t alone, she’s in the middle of a wild car chase with Nelson’s boss at the wheel, and they’re on speakerphone. To her credit, Nelson’s boss is very poker-faced. Or maybe she’s just British. Who knows.

Nelson’s boss drives a Porsche. Wow, self did not realize that police superintendents made that much money! Also, this woman wears skinny jeans but can rugby-tackle like nobody’s business.

Onward.

The Pleasure of the Throw-Away Line

The Dr. Ruth Galloway series are about gender politics.

There are alpha males galore in the police departments of the various locales. But there are women just itching to unseat them. Such as DI Judy Johnson, who is in the forefront of the investigation in The Chalk Circle (Dr. Ruth Galloway # 9).

Here, Judy Johnson and her partner, a likeable but very alpha Dave Clough, interview a witness in a missing woman case. The missing woman’s name is Sam.

“When did you last see Sam?”

“It must have been on Monday,” says Meg. “The mother and baby group is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I’m pretty sure Sam was here on Monday.”

“Can you check?” says Clough. “Do you take a register?”

Meg laughs. “No, it’s quite free and easy, Inspector.” Judy notes Clough doesn’t correct her about his rank.

The Chalk Circle, p. 202

That last sentence!

David Clough’s main characteristic is that he has to be constantly stuffing his face with junk food. But when it comes to interviewing a witness, apparently the man gets all the respect. He and Judy Johnson are friends, but — Clough doesn’t correct the witness when she calls him “Inspector.”

Stay tuned.

Alice in Wonderland: the Freudian version, in Ruth Galloway # 9, The Chalk Pit

Sometimes, self has questions. Such as: How did she get to Book # 9 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series? She only started Book # 1 in April, while she was in Northern Ireland of all places. You’d think she would be so taken with the surroundings (beautiful) that she would not have time to be into a new mystery series. But for some reason, she got hooked.

Every book in the series, self reaches a point where she says, Oh no, I can’t. This isn’t possible. I have to stop reading. But here she is.

In this book, Judy Johnson, DI, interviews a witness and immediately pegs the woman’s accent as “South African” and self wants to know how Judy can be so certain when Judy has never, ever left England, much less ever been to South Africa, and as far as self knows, there aren’t too many self-identifying South Africans in Norfolk, England for Judy to pick up any sort of acquaintance with the accent.

But only a few pages later, we are in a play, where Ruth’s young daughter has a small role, and this play and its director are so inspired! Sublime! The director is talking about the id and about Alice in Wonderland being on acid — to Kate’s daughter, a six-year-old! And Ruth is standing there, and doesn’t know what to think. But her daughter is so disarmingly enthusiastic about playing the young Alice (not yet hooked on acid), so Ruth suspends judgment and watches from the sidelines, and the scene is absolutely hilarious! It goes on for quite a few pages. It is a fully realized scene, it is served up in the middle of this novel, and has no relation to anything that comes before and after, much less any connection to the mystery, but it had self absolutely rolling on the floor!

And then, on p. 105, Ruth and Harry Nelson — who lead completely separate lives — have their moment. Which is to say, they bump into each other, by accident. This is always the point (in every book) at which the book’s tension picks up. It doesn’t matter how implausible the meeting — in The Chalk Pit, it’s a Saturday, and Ruth and her daughter are sightseeing, in the same place where Harry and his wife and daughter are shopping. See how perfect that is?

Side Note: Self borrowed most of the books from the library, which is a good thing. She just looked at the price (of the hardback, which she checked out of the library): $27.

I’m a Fan of . . . BOOKS!

Posting for the “I’m a Fan Of” Challenge hosted by Jez.

I love reading books and reading about books. Some of my favorite places in the whole world are bookstores. Here are a couple of photos from my most recent trip:

Book # 7, the Dr. Ruth Galloway Series: THE GHOST FIELDS

Self read her first Dr. Ruth Galloway book in April, when she was still at River Mill. And she’s been barreling along ever since. She bought # 7 at Waterstones in Oxford, then decided to order # 8. Though the books can be frustrating (many love triangles, “Secret” Fathers, etc etc), the series is addictive.

In Book # 7, our heroine is stuck in a creepy old house with two members of the British landed gentry who are both dotty. There’s a fierce storm, roads have flooded, so Ruth has no choice but to stay put. One of the creepy men enters her room in the middle of the night and . . .

Thankfully, nothing happens. This is Dr. Ruth Galloway, not Hannibal Lecter, lol!

In the kitchen, Ruth makes herself a cup of tea and puts some bread in the giant toaster, presumably bought with the B & B in mind. There’s no sound from upstairs. She hopes that both Georges will sleep late. For ever would be nice.

The Ghost Fields, p. 331

Quintessential Phil Trent: Ruth Galloway # 6

If someone had told self three months ago that she would be on Book # 6 of Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway mystery series, she would have said, Get out! Yet, here we are.

In the last book, The Outcast Dead, there was minimal Ruth/Nelson interaction, but plenty of Judy/Cathbad angst. That was okay, since self likes Cathbad. She’s not as enthused with Frank, the American TV personality who seems to have only two outstanding character traits: 1) He flirts with Ruth; 2) He is not Nelson.

Anyhoo, he’s gone back to Cambridge or wherever he is based, and Ruth is back to digging! And digging Ruth is the best Ruth, in self’s humble opinion.

Another really enjoyable aspect of Ruth Galloway’s character is how much her boss irritates her. Of course, he is her complete opposite: hates to do any work (any kind of work), but likes fundraising, and also making public appearances.

He shows up during a dig, early in The Ghost Fields, to which self can only say: HALLELUJAH, HOPEFULLY FIREWORKS!

“Do you want to have a look at today’s finds?” asks Ruth. Although she excavated the skeleton yesterday and bagged up the bones herself, there are still a few interesting objects emerging from the trench.

Phil pulls a face. “It’s awfully hot,” he says, as if the weather is Ruth’s fault.

“Is it?” says Ruth, pushing back her damp hair. “I hadn’t noticed.”

Phil looks at her quizzically. He doesn’t always get irony unless he’s concentrating.

Excellent scene!

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