A murder story to skip

I LOVED the last 60-odd pages of this book ... it's just a pity the other 260 were such a drag!

I LOVED the last 60-odd pages of this book ... it's just a pity the other 260 were such a drag!

Why? Well, firstly let me give you a little insight into the storyline.

Set in the town of Norwich, England, the skeleton of a child is found buried under an old house that is being demolished to make way for town houses.

What makes the crime particularly gruesome is the head is missing from the body, which raises a host of questions for the investigators, one of them being: is it the work of some satanic group?

Throw in the fact that a Catholic church once had a children's home on the premises run by a group of priests and nuns and the spice is there.

So far, so good, but what bogged me down was some of the complex characters used by author Elly Griffiths.

Cathbad is one example. A committed Druid, he wears flowery robes and spends much of his time dancing around bonfires and speaking to the spirits. He has a certain spiritual power that allows him to predict happenings in advance and is part of a group of archaeologists who get off on digging up bones dating back centuries.

One character I did enjoy was the investigating officer of the murder ... one Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, who is your typical English cop. Hard-working, he's a family man, a no-nonsense sort who finds himself in a spot of bother when after a one-night stand he discovers he will become a father for the third time with a woman he doesn't even really know.

For me some passages of the book needed a reread, especially when things were being translated from Latin into English. It tended to slow down the pace of the story.

Another disappointment was finding a number of literals throughout its 327 pages. That I found slightly annoying.

Do yourself a favour and skip this novel.