Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year fireworks: Parties for Ruth and Harry

 

Every year I do a series of Xmas & New Year  entries on the blog, helped and encouraged by suggestions and recommendations from my lovely readers. You can see some of the pictures in this entry, and find (endless!) more Xmas books via the tags at the bottom of the page.

 

 

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths



published 2009


 
New Year Ruth and Harry 2New Year Ruth and Harry
 
 

Ruth did not intend to go to Sammy’s New Year’s Eve party. In fact, nothing could have been further from her thoughts. Having successfully pleaded a cold as an excuse [to get out of another party], she planned to go to bed early with the new Rebus, a surprisingly thoughtful Christmas present from Simon.

As she lies in bed… and listens to the steady thump of music coming from next door, she feels oddly restless… Almost without knowing it, she gets up and dresses in black trousers and a black t-shirt. Then as an afterthought, she adds a red silk shirt given to her years ago by Shona. She collects a bottle of red from her small store of wine and finds herself knocking on her neighbours’ front door…

‘Aren’t we dreadful neighbours?’ says [co-host] Ed, striking himself theatrically on the forehead. ‘All these years and we’re only just getting to know each other. What’ll you have to drink, Ruth? Red? White? Beer? I think there’s even some mulled wine left.’

Nelson too is at a party. His is rather more glamorous than Ruth’s, and certainly noisier. It is being held in rooms above a wine bar and sparkling wine is flowing like water. Discordant music blasts from the speakers and evil little canapes are circulating. Nelson, who arrived straight from work, has eaten about twenty and now feels slitghtly sick. His last selection, a prawn in puff pastry, is floating forlornly in a nearby ice sculpture. He is dying for a cigarette.

‘Alright?’ His wife Michelle drifts by, elegant in a metallic gold dress.

‘No. When can we go home?’


commentary: Harry Nelson is without doubt my favourite fictional policeman , and the one I would most like to spend New Year’s Eve with, even though he is a miserable sod at times. But both kinds of party here seem very recognizable.

This was the first of the now very-well-established and much-loved series. I’ve been following Dr Ruth Galloway pretty much from first publication, and found it very interesting to do some re-reading – the characters have lived their lives and changed so much that I kept wondering where Kate was, and a whole plotline concerning Cathbad read very strangely. But still great books, and you can see the roots of everything that was to follow. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist, Harry Nelson is a local policeman. They are thrown together in investigating crimes. The books have great mysteries, fascinating settings and details, and characters who truly have become the reader’s friends. A terrific series.
 
 

Whatever kind of NY party you are attending tonight, Clothes in Books wishes you the very best.


Pictures of New Year’s Eve parties are hard to come by – they either look sordid and horrible, or very staged. So let’s settle for these fireworks, celebrating the new year in Taipei in 2008. Ruth is always putting herself and her clothes down, so I decided to give her this rather glamorous version of her look as a treat.















12 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic series, Moira. And part of the reason for that is exactly what you say: the characters have evolved and changed, just as real people do. And I do like both Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson as the lead characters. I'm glad you chose this book for today.

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    1. Thanks Margot - I know this is a series we both cherish. Great crime stories AND great characters. I'm glad to say there is another one coming out soon...

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  2. This is the one book I have read in the series, and I haven't moved on with it yet. I have the next two in the series. I love that sentence: "Discordant music blasts from the speakers and evil little canapes are circulating."

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    1. I know - you recognize exactly the kind of party that is... I know you don't like present tense, but everything else about the books is wonderful.

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    2. To be honest, this post does motivate to pull out the next book in this sereies, which is in a prominent place already. Let's just hope I don't get attracted by too many other books before I get there.

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    3. Yes, would love to know what you think of it.

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  3. I enjoy this series too! Lots of great plot twists! And I suspect that Ruth looks better than she says she does, she has, as they say, self-esteem issues.

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    1. Yes I agree with you - I always try to find a nice photo to illustrate these books.

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  4. I don't know that I have an absolute favourite fictional policeman but I do like Harry very much. And share his views on parties ;) I must admit I have grown a bit tired of the repetitive and unresolved relationship 'issues' between Ruth, Harry & Michelle but I do still enjoy this series.

    Happy New Year to you Moira

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    1. Happy New Year to you too. I could go on reading about their issues for ever - this series gets a pass from me in various areas where I am critical of others! We all have our favourites...

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  5. I really do have to try this series - have a great 2017 Moira.

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    1. Happy New Year to you and your family Sergio.

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