THE CHALK PIT by Elly Griffiths
Kirkus Star


Email this review


The discovery of some not-so-old bones opens up surprising possibilities of a mysterious underground world.

Archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is called in when several bones are found in one of the many underground chalk mine tunnels under the city of Norwich, England. The architect planning an underground restaurant is hoping they’re ancient, but testing reveals not only that they’re fairly recent, but that they’d been boiled and cut open, a sinister hint of cannibalism. Meantime, Ruth’s one-time lover DCI Nelson, the father of her daughter, Kate, is asked by rough sleeper Eddie O’Toole to look into the disappearance of Barbara Murray, another rough sleeper who hasn’t been seen in any of her usual haunts. When Eddie’s found stabbed to death and soon after another homeless man is also found stabbed, Nelson begins to take the search for Barbara more seriously. Then a middle-class mother of four vanishes from her home, and the police go all out to find her. While all this is happening, Ruth and Nelson, who remains married, maintain a delicately balanced relationship. Nelson’s wife allows him to spend time with Kate, but neither of his grown daughters knows of her existence. The missing housewife has one thing in common with the rough sleepers: they all spent time at a center run by an ex-con who’s found religion and changed his ways. Wild rumors abound about the old chalk mine tunnels that run for miles under Norwich, and a statement that someone made about Barbara going underground lead the police to some hidden doors. Is it possible that a literally underground group could be responsible for the deaths?

Like its predecessors (The Woman in Blue, 2016, etc.), Griffith’s ninth is complex and character-driven, providing an excellent mystery whose very last sentence will leave you yearning for the next installment.

Pub Date: May 30th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-544-75031-9
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2017


MysteryTHE STONE CIRCLE by Elly Griffiths
by Elly Griffiths
MysteryTHE STRANGER DIARIES by Elly Griffiths
by Elly Griffiths
MysteryTHE VANISHING BOX by Elly Griffiths
by Elly Griffiths


MysteryTHE CHILD GARDEN by Catriona McPherson
by Catriona McPherson
FictionWITH A PASSION PUT TO USE by Keith McCarthy
by Keith McCarthy
MysteryA GREAT RECKONING by Louise Penny
by Louise Penny