The Last Remains by Elly Griffiths

The Last Remains is a fitting conclusion to a unique series that has had me hooked from the very beginning. Ruth is called in when human remains are discovered in a café in King’s Lynn. The victim is identified as Emily Pickering, a student at Cambridge who went missing in 2002. At the time of her disappearance, she was on a field trip to Grime’s Graves, a Neolithic flint mining site in Norfolk. She set off for home, but never got there. Suspicion falls on her tutor Leo Ballard, and on Ruth’s friend Cathbad who, coincidentally, knew Emily at that time.

Change is in the air… Michelle is divorcing Nelson and going back to live in Blackpool. The Archaeology department is under threat of closure, so Ruth may have to look for another job elsewhere. Ruth and Nelson are trying to work out if they have a future together.

There is also a feeling of loose ends being tied up, echoes from the past, recurring characters and references to the other books in the series – all of this gives the reader a feeling of closure. It is written in the present tense, which can be unpalatable to some readers, but the writing and characterisation are so good I scarcely noticed. As always, the setting on the saltmarsh has an atmosphere all of its own (you could not imagine Ruth living anywhere else) and the plot incorporates strange local myths and legends. I was sad that this was the final book in the series, but plan to start at the beginning and savour them all over again.