Norfolk’s first lady of crime...
! MEET THE AUTHOR King’s Lynn on in be ll wi s th iffi Elly Gr visiting Gaywood d, 2n Wednesday March nn 3pm and King’s Ly Library from 2.30– m. Library from 7–8p
Fans of crime fiction recently celebrated the publication of the latest Ruth Galloway mystery. Charlotte Thorneycroft talks to her creator, local novelist Elly Griffiths about Norfolk, writing and archaeology...
uccessful crime novelist Elly Griffiths uses Norfolk as the setting for her Ruth Galloway crime mysteries and has recently released her third novel in the series – The House at Seas End. Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate some human skeletons that have been found dating back to the Second World War. Finding it difficult to juggle motherhood and her career, things become a even harder when she comes face to face with DI Harry Nelson. A killer lurks and mystery and intrigue ensue – everything you’d want from a Ruth Galloway story. Here her creator tells us a little more about her literary work. KL MAGAZINE: How did you begin your literary career? ELLY GRIFFITHS: I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I wrote my first book, a murder mystery, when I was eleven. I studied English at university and went on to work in publishing. This should have been the perfect job for an aspiring writer but actually it almost put me off for life. Publishing is a very cut-throat business these days. It wasn’t until I was on maternity leave expecting my twins (who are now 12) that I wrote my first published novel – ‘The Italian Quarter.’ It’s loosely based on my dad’s life and is published under my real name, Domenica de Rosa. KL MAGAZINE: Would you say crime is your favourite genre? Do you have a favourite crime writer who inspires you? ELLY GRIFFITHS: I enjoy all sorts of books, but my real love is Victorian fiction. My favourite writer is Wilkie Collins and he has
KLmagazine March 2011
certainly inspired me. The Saltmarsh in ‘The Crossing Places’ certainly owes something to the Shivering Sand in The Moonstone. KL MAGAZINE: Can you tell us a little about the character Ruth Galloway? ELLY GRIFFITHS: Ruth is a forensic archaeologist (not an anthropologist as some people have said) who teaches at a fictional university near King’s Lynn. She loves her job and she’s good at it. She lives alone (apart from her beloved cat) in an isolated cottage on the North Norfolk coast. Ruth is overweight, slightly prickly and formidably intelligent. She’s first consulted by the police when bones are discovered on nearby marshland. The bones turn out to be over 2,000 years old but Ruth is drawn into the investigation and into a complicated relationship with DCI Harry Nelson. KL MAGAZINE: What was your inspiration behind using Norfolk as the setting for your Ruth Galloway mysteries? ELLY GRIFFITHS: I was walking on Titchwell Marsh with my husband, Andy, and our children. Andy’s an archaeologist, and he mentioned that prehistoric man saw marshland as sacred. Because it’s neither land nor sea but something in between, they saw it as a kind of bridge to the afterlife – neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. The entire plot of ‘The Crossing Places’ came to me in that instant. KL MAGAZINE: Are there any particular places, people or tales from Norfolk that have stirred your imagination to feature in your work? ELLY GRIFFITHS: Obviously, Titchwell
Marsh, but really the entire North Norfolk Coast. I also love King’s Lynn and the Broads. My second book, ‘The Janus Stone’, ends with a boat chase along the Broads from Reedham to Horsey Mere. The third – ‘The House at Sea’s End’ – is set in a village modelled on Happisburgh. KL MAGAZINE: Ruth is an archaeologist – have you visited any of the digs in Norfolk? ELLY GRIFFITHS: I haven’t been to any digs in Norfolk, but I’ve read a lot about the original Seahenge dig at Holme-next-theSea and I’ve seen the finds on display at Flag Fen. KL MAGAZINE: We are very pleased you’re visiting King’s Lynn on 2nd March – what sort of response have you had so far from readers in Norfolk? ELLY GRIFFITHS: So far, it’s been great. I hope readers can sense my love for the region. KL MAGAZINE: What can we expect from your next novel? ELLY GRIFFITHS: The next book will be set in a small (fictional!) museum in King’s Lynn. The museum has some very unusual exhibits and, when the curator is found dead, Ruth is called in to examine them... The House at Seas End by Elly Griffiths (Quercus, £14.99) is available now from all good bookshops.
Published on Mar 1, 2011