Something evil is waiting in the dark tunnels under Norwich - forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway had better watch her step.
Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity - now it suggests a much more sinister purpose.
Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she's gone 'underground'. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard that the network of old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich is home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history - but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?
As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart - before it claims another victim
Elly Griffiths was born in London. She read English at King's College, London, and worked in publishing for many years before becoming a full time author.
Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk, while her new series of Stephens and Mephisto novels are based in 1950s Brighton. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.
In 2017 Elly will be the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival’s Programming Chair.
The Guildhall was mostly built between 1407 and 1413. By 1435 the tower and porch had been added and in 1440 all of the city records were brought over, a reminder of its political responsibility. By 1453 the final windows of the magnificent building were glazed, essentially marking the building's completion.The exterior of Norwich Guildhall provides an excellent example of the flint work that the city is so famous for. The building was constructed from flint rubble faced with knapped flint and infill. The east side was crafted from alternate squares of faced flint and ashlar stone, giving the building its chequered effect.
Much of the exterior as it is seen today is Victorian. Massive reconstructions came in both 1861 and 1908, and replaced the porch and many of the windows in the 'gothic' style that was so favoured by the Victorians.
The undercroft of Norwich Guildhall, positioned beneath the east end, pre-dates the building, and is thought to be an original feature of the earlier toll-house. Brick built, it was used as a dungeon for more dangerous criminals into the 17th century. There are two items of graffiti cut into the walls (a 'heart within a heart' and a ship outline with a prow). Unfortunately, it is not known how old these are.
Today, access to the undercroft is via a spiral staircase that dates from the 15th century. It is still possible to see the thick oak doors that would have enclosed the prisoners. It is thought that Thomas Bilney, the first Protestant martyr was held here in the days leading up to his execution for heresy.