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The Outcast Dead

Ruth Galloway, Book 6
Narrated by: Clare Corbett
Series: Ruth Galloway, Book 6
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison. She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children in her care.

DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-dead killers. Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently. Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson.

©2014 Elly Griffiths (P)2014 Quercus Publishing plc
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book in the series so far

I really enjoyed the writing, plot development and characterisation in this book. Enjoyed hearing about Ruth's tv archaeologist experiences and her new love interest. I think it's been the best in the series so far and look forward to reading the next one. Well and truly comfortable now with change in narrator with this being Clare's second time reading this series.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I'm hooked

Number six in the series and probably my favourite since the first.

Firstly, if you’re thinking about reading this book and you haven’t read any of the others, don’t bother. There is no way you can fully appreciate anything about The Outcast Dead if you haven’t read the previous books in the series. And if you have read them and disliked them, I doubt you’d bother with this one. That is, my theory is, by this stage only real Ruth fans are still reading.

They can probably appreciate how I felt when reading this installment and how I believe Griffiths is the biggest tease evah. In fact, I’m not sure whose frustration is largest after reading this book: Ruth and Nelson’s, or mine.

Okay, okay, there is a mystery plot in amongst all the Ruth/Nelson stuff. In fact, Griffiths shows how much she’s matured in this area by including three pretty strong crime/mystery storylines.

The first has Ruth digging up the bones of a still infamous female child killer from the 1800s, dubbed Mother Hook, who was hanged for her supposed crimes. The second involves the death, apparently from natural causes, of a child and the suspicions which are raised when the authorities learn the child is the third to die from the one family. And finally, someone has kidnapped two children, leaving notes from ‘The Childminder'.

Whilst Nelson and co investigate, the reader wonders if the cases are linked in any way.

The Mother Hook story is being turned into a television documentary and before she knows it, Ruth is part of the show and catching the eye of a handsome American silver fox working as a history expert on the show, Frank. Yes, for someone who claims she’s plain and fat, Ruth has men lining up!

This leads me back to what is really important: the continuing soap opera-like drama of the characters. This book really reaches new heights in this area. We probably don't get enough Nelson in this installment, for my liking. There was much more focus on the lives of supporting characters, luckily all of whom I love. Cathbad and Judy and Darren broke my heart; Clough warmed it; and Tim had it jump with intrigue.

Obviously, given the crime plots, there’s strong a strong theme of maternal love and all its joys and heartbreaks throughout the book. In fact, I thought it was one of Griffiths’s most thought provoking books in the series. Griffiths shows Ruth’s feminist leanings and opinions on the subject with a deft touch. (If I had a complaint, I’d say she doesn’t always seem so subtle when it comes to Ruth’s atheism.) It also gives Ruth some poignant moments with her daughter, Kate. (How Griffiths manages to make a toddler have such a strong personality is beyond me.)

Of course, it’s Ruth and Nelson I’m really interested in and I adore every scene they have together. I especially enjoy how oblivious Nelson has become to his own feelings.

Anyway, if you’re thinking of starting this series, go back to Crossing Places. If you find you hate this series, you’ll never read this one, so it doesn’t really matter. But if you’re like me and find you adore this series, you’ll also love this book and agree with my 5 out of 5 rating.

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Another clever one

This was more archeological then some of the others in the series. Nice, interesting, recommend you read in order.

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Great Series

Elly Griffiths has a marvellous way of making you care about the characters. You can really relate to their reactions and situations. Just love the Ruth Galloway books.

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  • C. A. Gelsinger
  • 03-09-2014

You gotta understand, I love this series

Ruth Galloway is such a sympathetic character, not perfect, not beautiful, but intelligent and resourceful, determined and straightforward. She struggles to balance her life as a single mom with her job as a forensic anthropologist. This story continues her inquiries into the history of her North Norfolk home,along with a contemporary mystery that parallels the historical investigation. As with any book that is driven by character more than action, I am very pleased to have visited with Ruth for a spell. If you like Deborah Crombie, or Louise Penny, you'll be happy with this series by Elly Griffiths.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 23-02-2015

The best Ruth Galloway book yet!

What aspect of Clare Corbett’s performance would you have changed?

Corbett's male voices were colorless and one-dimensional, and I cringed any time I knew Kate was about to speak (not all children shriek that loudly). Also, who told her that Americans sounded like she voiced Frank and Dani?

Otherwise, a solid performance.

Any additional comments?

Elly Griffiths' writing has improved vastly from her early books to this one. I've been bingeing on Ruth Galloway, reading them in order over the last couple of weeks, and I can tell that the author has become a much better writer. This is the first one I've listened to though.

I highly recommend reading the books in order, as the characters have definitely developed over the six, and soon to be seven, books. You will enjoy them more if you read them in order, although The Outcast Dead is the best of the bunch.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Madame Seattle
  • 20-09-2016

Jane

I really miss Jane McDowell's narration of the Ruth Galloway mysteries. Her Irish accent for Cathbad is much better for the character as well as the Northern accent voice for Nelson. Hopefully she will return to this series in the near future.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • sidhecat
  • 08-09-2014

Another great Ruth Galloway mystery

I have enjoyed all of the books in this series. This audible version was no exception. The narrator was excellent and the story kept me completely absorbed and as usual a little disappointed that I must wait for the next great book from Elly Griffiths.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Pamela Crowder
  • 14-07-2014

My First Audio Book-I LOVE IT!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Outcast Dead to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version of this book but I have read the other 5 books in this Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths. I have loved every one of her books and this audio version has not let me down. I was a little skeptical as this was my first audio book but it is great! I am not the least bit disappointed. I look forward to more audio books in the future!

What other book might you compare The Outcast Dead to and why?

Compared to the other 5 books in this series, book #6 is the same high quality as in the past. Elly Griffiths has not let us down as the series continues! I look forward to her next book and hope it comes out very soon!

What does Clare Corbett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love her accent! Since I am not from the country where the story takes place her accent adds to the authenticity of the book.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I would title it just as the author has....I would love to see this entire series in film!!!

Any additional comments?

Thank you for offering Elly Griffiths books here, it was a pleasant surprise to find it available here.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 15-06-2015

Not as good as her others

Women readers should not try to talk like a man! It just sounds forced and terrible. Also, Ruth's child's voice screams out of the earphones in a blare.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Janet H. Maddox
  • 09-07-2014

With each book, the series just gets better!

I love this series. The characters are real people - just more interesting than any I know. The stories have a ring of truth. Fascinating stories, but the continuing story of these people I really like is the best part of all. Start at the beginning of the series and enjoy them all. Can't wait for another!

2 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • 08-07-2015

My God, what a yawn!

Having chosen this one based on the other reviews, I am 3 hours in and wondering what book they all read. This is one of my worst choices yet, plot, narration, characterization, all of it. Example 1: The heroine has apparently had an affair with a policeman which resulted in a now nearly 3-year-old daughter. Wife is aware of the whole thing, and ACCOMPANIES HIM when the cop visits mother and daughter on little outings, like to a pony farm. Oh, yes, and Wife adores the little girl (her two daughters with the cop are pretty much grown). Extremely civilized, I admit, but also extremely unrealistic, and without any explanation whatever of how this utopic situation was achieved. Example 2: Main suspect has fled before the police got there, made his way to the heroine's very secluded cottage and has appeared in her kitchen holding her daughter. Heroine is of course practically paralyzed and then the tot starts shouting "Dada!" into heroine's cell phone. Without a pause, the narrator starts reading the next paragraph and after a baffling line or two, the hapless listener realizes that the cop is in the room with all of them in the cottage. The author has just skipped all the boring stuff about how the cop, hearing the daughter's voice and the sound of a man's rumble in the background, instantly deduces the situation and throws himself in his car to race to the rescue. This is explained in a few brief words after he's arrested Main Suspect.

I just started laughing and snapped off the book. The first example leads me to believe that Elly Griffiths is really a man. The second one gives me the impression that he's lazy. In either case, that's it for this one. Back it goes.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sires
  • 04-05-2014

Exhumation of a hanged Victorian Child Murderess

A Victorian Baby Farmer convicted and hanged for the death of a young boy left in her care by his mother is the historic story that Ruth Galloway, forensic physical anthropologist, is dealing with in this, the sixth book in this series. Meanwhile DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the suspicious death of a baby whose parents are both suspects in the child's death.

Children are a big theme in this book in the series, as they have been in past books in this series. Not only is the skeleton of the hook-handed baby farmer Jemima Green, aka Mother Hook, the basis of a local bogy, she is also set to be the subject of an episode of a sensationalistic television show about women who kill.

Anyway this is a better than average story read well by Clare Corbett. She is not idiosyncratic in her style and thankfully does a good job with the accent of a historian from the US who adds some variety to the cast. Many of the characters from previous books make an appearance and the overall story arc does advance a bit.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Upright Ape
  • 07-05-2016

Narrator horrible

Would you try another book from Elly Griffiths and/or Clare Corbett?

See my review for the previous entry, The Dying Fall. As far as I'm concerned, A Room Full of Bones is the last audiobook in the series, unless the narrator for The Dying Fall and all subsequent audiobooks is replaced.

6 people found this helpful

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  • d collins
  • 22-05-2016

Awful narration

Had to give up, narrator shouting child voices make this dreadful. Destroys the story.
Please just read the book.

11 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ingrid
  • 10-01-2017

Horrible narrater, distroy the hole book

What disappointed you about The Outcast Dead?

The narrator

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The mystery it self

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Clare Corbett?

Jane McDowell did a really good job

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

The narrator destroyed the hole book. She make a mock of the different caracters in the book

Any additional comments?

I will not recomand this book to a friend

10 people found this helpful

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  • michelle
  • 13-02-2016

Dead boring

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

No however I stayed with it to the bitter end hoping it would improve

Has The Outcast Dead put you off other books in this genre?

No I love crime novels, however it has put me off Elly Griffins.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

She was fine with female voices but awful when doing the male ones especially the American

Could you see The Outcast Dead being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

God I hope not, I can't imagine anyone wanting to star in it

Any additional comments?

This book was recommended to me as well as the rest of the series,however I guess it's like marmite either you like it or loathe it. I'm in the latter, if you want a good crime read try The Slaughter Man by Tony Parsons

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Maggie
  • 14-09-2015

Beware special offers...

I'd not heard of Elly Griffiths or the Ruth Galloway novels before this one appeared in an offer, and I thought It sounded ok, might as well give it a try

Oh dear - it has the lot. Archaeology, detectives, history - wonderful stuff, topped off by excellent narration and wonderfully evocative descriptions of the North Norfolk coast. A story that rattles along with several different strands.

The snag is it's No 6 in a series and it's hard to keep track of who's who and who's done what when they all have an established back history.

Nothing for it, I'll have to either read or listen to the previous 5. Just when I thought my credits would last the rest of the year... Thanks Audible!

9 people found this helpful

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  • alesdair
  • 05-01-2017

poor

the plot and sub plot are disconnectedwith little attempt to make a cohesive narrative.
The narration was unengaging and when an attempt was made to inject drama it was done by an increase in volume that was uncomfortable for earphone use.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Ceri-Anne
  • 13-08-2017

Bit disappointed but still a good listen

Disappointed with the change of narrator but plot and characters still captivating and looking forward to the next in the series.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lizzie
  • 06-08-2016

An interesting book

If you could sum up The Outcast Dead in three words, what would they be?

Atmospheric different interesting

What other book might you compare The Outcast Dead to, and why?

The Lewis Man Same atmospheric tone and good characterisation

Which scene did you most enjoy?

In the playground

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Join the dig and don/t be afraid of the dark

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • iris
  • 21-03-2014

An average read

There is so much back tracking to past stories that the novel is sluggish and difficult to become engrossed in. The narrator is excellent and it is thanks to this performance that I was able to listen to the whole book. The main character Ruth Galloway is fairly well drawn but the other characters are fairly forgettable. I expect if I had begun with book 1 I might be more indulgent and enthusiastic as her fans are. Unless you are a fan I would give this a miss.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Saffy
  • 24-02-2014

Excellent addition to the series

I have listened to all of Elly Grifiths Ruth Galloway books and this is definitely the best in the series. The plot is much tighter and the pace quicker than in some of the previous books and I was absolutely gripped. As usual the merging together of past and present is brilliantly done and the characterisation is excellent. I love the atmospheric Norfolk setting of the series particularly the descriptions of Ruth's home on the salt marshes. If you have not read any previous books in this series I would suggest starting at the beginning as the various relationships between the characters will make more sense. Clare Corbett reads this beautifully, although sometimes the male voices are not quite convincing! A highly recommended listen

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colby
  • 16-02-2014

Elly Griffiths Is Better than Ever

What made the experience of listening to The Outcast Dead the most enjoyable?

The story is more complex than previous Ruth Galloway novels, and the elements all fit together beautifully. I've listened to the book twice in two weeks, and saw the hints and nuances that make this such a thought-provoking story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The characters are all evolving, changing with time and experience, though Nelson is as unpleasant as ever. It is a pleasure to see the younger police maturing, and Ruth seems more comfortable in herself than she has been previously.

What about Clare Corbett’s performance did you like?

Male and female characters are easily distinguished and identified by their tones and accents, and her children's voices are delightful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The relationship between Cathbad and Judy has been a source of such unhappiness and difficulty for them, that when Judy spoke to her husband about their marriage and he responded so honestly and touchingly, I had tears in my eyes.

Any additional comments?

This author has published novels in different genres, all of which I have enjoyed. But this book, The Outcast Dead, is a huge leap forward in her writing.

4 people found this helpful