Books


 

Chris Rushby: The Irresistible Rise Of Elly Griffiths 

 

Jarrold book buyer Chris Rushby talks about the rise of one of our bestselling authors, whose thrilling crime novels resonate with us thanks to their familiar locales.

Once upon a time...

 

...there is a moderately successful novelist called Domenica de Rosa. Domenica de Rosa sounds like a nom de plume, but is her real name. Domenica writes novels set in Italy, where her family originated, exploring families and identity. Then, one day, while Domenica is on holiday in north Norfolk with her family walking across Titchwell Marsh, her husband (an archaeologist) starts to explain how prehistoric man saw marshland as sacred, a kind of bridge to the afterlife. At that point Domenica has a vision of the entire plot of a novel; and of its central character, Dr Ruth Galloway, walking towards her out of the mist. And so The Crossing Places, the first of what will become the highly successful Ruth Galloway series, comes to be written. Domenica assumes the book will be published under her own name, but when Domenica's literary agent reads the book she says ‘This is crime. You need a crime name.’ And so Domenica de Rosa becomes Elly Griffiths and the rest is history (and, of course, some forensic archaeology).

 

We're delighted Elly Griffiths had that moment of inspiration. She's since written eight more page-turning, best-selling novels featuring Dr Ruth Galloway (untypical of the genre, Ruth's adventures are all told in the present tense) with another due in February 2018, the tenth anniversary of the start of the series. Elly is also the author of another successful crime fiction series: the Stephens & Mephisto novels, set in her home town of Brighton in the immediate post-war period. And, after some years when they were unavailable, her publisher has recently begun to reissue the Domenica de Rosa novels.

 

Inevitably, though, the Ruth Galloway books, with their local settings, tend to strike a particular chord with Norfolk readers. Ruth's cottage out on the salt marsh near Titchwell, her forensic archaeology work at the (fictitious!) University of North Norfolk, her chasing round the county helping DCI Harry Nelson and his police colleagues solve crimes, have all become familiar and treasured elements of the series, with each new book awaited eagerly by a growing band of loyal fans, including the Jarrold book-selling team. And the 'will they, won't they?' relationship between Ruth and Harry Nelson brings a love interest sub-plot that stretches engagingly through the series.

 

Elly Griffiths' novels are national best-sellers, but in Norfolk she's a superstar! Looking at total book sales in Jarrold over the past twelve months, no fewer than five of our top twenty best-selling titles have been Ruth Galloway novels. The latest in the series, The Chalk Pit, appears in two formats: in paperback at number 8 and hardback at 15. The previous book, The Woman In Blue, is at 14. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the chart, though, is that the other two titles to feature in the top twenty are the first and second books in the Ruth Galloway series: The Crossing Places is the highest placed of all Elly's books at number 5, with The Janus Stone at number 11. This suggests new readers are discovering Elly Griffiths in ever-increasing numbers and that, as the months roll by, they're likely to devour the rest of the series title by title. 

 

I'd love to claim this is entirely the result of our prominent displays of the books and unhesitating recommendation of the series to any readers of the genre. In fact, though, it's almost certainly down to the most effective marketing tool of all: word-of-mouth recommendation by one satisfied reader to another. As one of those satisfied readers, let me finish by recommending to anyone who enjoys crime fiction (and particularly if the local settings appeal) that, if you haven't yet done so, you give Elly Griffiths a try. It's not absolutely essential to read them in order, but I'd suggest starting with The Crossing Places and reading the books in the order set out below. It's never too late to become a convert...  

The Crossing Places

The Janus Stone 

The House At Sea's End

A Room Full Of Bones

A Dying Fall

The Outcast Dead

The Ghost Fields

The Woman In Blue

The Chalk Pit

The Dark Angel  (published 8th February 2018)

Shop some of Elly Griffiths' titles online

The Crossing Places

£8.99

BUY

Dying Fall 

£7.99 

BUY

The Outcast Dead

£7.99

BUY

The Ghost Fields

£7.99

BUY

The Woman in Blue 

£7.99

BUY

The Chalk Pit 

£7.99

BUY

For the full collection of books by Elly Griffiths visit our book department on the lower ground floor. 

The books in the Dr Ruth Galloway series are available as part of our buy one, get one half price offer on fiction

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