If you enjoy reading archeological mysteries, Elly Griffiths with her Ruth Galloway archaeological mystery series is an author to start reading. Her series has often been compared to that of Amelia Peabody by Elizabeth Peters and Gideon Oliver series by Aaron Elkins.
Besides the popular Ruth Galloway books, Elly Griffiths has also written a second, shorter, series titled Stephens & Mephisto, a historical mystery series that takes place in the years past WWII, in the 1950s.
Here are the Elly Griffiths books in order for her two series. The book list is updated regularly.
New Elly Griffiths Books
Ruth Galloway Series in Order
- The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1), 2009
- The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2), 2010
- The House at Sea’s End (Ruth Galloway #3), 2011
- A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4), 2011
- Ruth’s First Christmas Tree (Ruth Galloway #4.5), 2012 (free download)
- A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway #5), 2012
- The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway #6), 2014
- The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway #7), 2015
- The Woman in Blue (Ruth Galloway #8), 2016
- The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway #9), 2017
- The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway #10), 2018
- The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway #11), 2019
Stephens and Mephisto Series in Order
- The Zig Zag Girl (Stephens & Mephisto #1), 2014
- Smoke and Mirrors (Stephens & Mephisto #2), 2015
- The Blood Card (Stephens & Mephisto #3), 2016
- The Vanishing Box (Stephens & Mephisto #4), 2017
- Now You See Her (Stephens & Mephisto #5), 2019
Standalone Elly Griffiths Books
Books Written As Domenica de Rosa
Elly Griffiths Biography
The British crime mystery author Elly Griffiths was born in 1963, in London, as Domenica de Rosa. The family lived in London until Domenica was 5, around the time when the y moved to Brighton.
She started writing at the young age of 11 when he crafted her first novel, which was a murder mystery set in Rottingdean, close to the village she is living in.
She attended local state schools, and later she went to King’s College in London where she majored in English.
After graduating from the university, she started working in a library and then for a magazine. Later on, she moved on to work in publishing as an editorial director for children’s books at HarperCollins. She didn’t begin writing until she was on maternity leave in 1998, at the age of 35. Before publishing her first novel, she did have several unpublished manuscripts which included that crime novel she wrote as a child, a story set in the publishing world, and a saga about Italian racing drivers.
When starting the Ruth Galloway series, the author published it under the pseudonym Elly Griffiths, a name that stuck for the rest of the series and her Stephens & Mephisto series, as well as some of her standalone novels. The pen name comes from her grandmother who had the same name, Ellen Griffiths. However, the publisher wanted her to change Ellen to Elly as it sounded younger.
Initially, she intended for The Crossing Places to be a standalone novel, but after readers wanting more of Ruth, she continued with a second book, turning the Ruth Galloway mysteries into the internationally bestselling series it is today.
In an interview, Elly Griffiths mentioned that Ruth Galloway is a combination of several strong women in Elly’s life, such as her two older sisters and her aunt. Ruth is witty, fun to be around, has wry humor, and loves sequins, even though that is just in secret. She is a stout atheist, and this comes from the author being very interested in their points of view. She is not without self-perceived faults, though. She has a weight problem and she often is clumsy. Sometimes she even feels insecure about herself.
She is not only a forensic archaeologist that teaches at a Norfolk university, but she is also quite the sleuth. She is also in a very complicated relationship with a police officer, DCI Harry Nelson, with whom she has a daughter, Kate. Ruth lives on the edge of Saltmarsh, a bleak marsh land. While the actual name of the place is not real, it is loosely modeled after the North Norfolk coast.
The Ruth Galloway series is an archeological mystery, and while Elly Griffiths has no hands-on experience in the field, her husband is an actual archaeologist. Him giving up work in the city as a banker and picking up archaeology was also a gentle push that led to the creation of the author’s popular series.
The author’s debut novel was The Italian Quarter, published under her real name, Domenica de Rosa. While a fictional story, it was loosely based on the author’s dad’s life, who was an Italian immigrant living in Clerkenwell, London’s Italian quarter. The books written under her real name are not mysteries, but all the books under Elly Griffiths are.
When she wites her books, Elly usually begins with an outline of each of the chapters directly typed on the computer. Later on, she fleshes all those chapters out to full-fledged novels. Although her husband, Andy, is an archaeologist, she doesn’t ask him too many questions about the craft. Instead, he connected her with fellow archaeologists who can help her with expert answers to her questions.
These days, the author writes around two books every year, especially since she started her Stephens & Mephisto series, writing one book a year in each series – or one book in a series and a standalone novel, which happened in 2018.
The Stephens & Mephisto is a historical mystery series set in the 1950s featuring a policeman, Edgar Stephens, and a magician, Max Mephisto, who served together in the army and they now work together to catch killers.
The series has an inspiration the World War II Magic Gang, with one member Jasper Maskelyne who was also working with the author’s granddad who was a music hall comedian. Max Mephisto’s career is loosely based on that of Jasper Maskelyne’s.
Unlike the Ruth Galloway that takes place in Norfolk, the Stephens and Mephisto series takes place in Brighton, where the author herself has been living from the age of 5. Of course, modern Brighton is not quite the same as the Brighton of the 1950s.
The Stranger Diaries, a standalone novel published in 2018, is a Gothic murder mystery featuring Clare Cassidy, a teacher of Literature at Talgarth High, who is also writing the biography of R.M. Holland, whose house is the basis for the Talgarth High school. Holland has a chilling short story titled The Stranger, one that Claire finds fascinating. The entire house is quite spooky too. When a colleague is murdered within the school, there is a line from Holland’s book next to the body.
Elly Griffiths received the 2011 Mary Higgins Clark Award for The Crossing Places, and the author got several starred reviews from places like RT Book reviews, Library Journal, and Kirkus Reviews.
Currently, Elly Griffiths lives near Brighton her husband and two teenage children and is working on developing her next novel. When she is not writing, she is teaching creative writing and enjoys horse riding and swimming, which she loves doing between April and October. She also enjoys reading books and going on walks with her family.
Praise for Elly Griffiths Books
I refuse to apologise for being in love with Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson. (Val McDermid)
Griffiths supplies proof that thrillers can increase the pulse rate while tackling more serious issues (Guardian)
Ruth Galloway is one of the most engaging characters in modern crime fiction (Kate Mosse)
Elly Griffiths writes ever-more ingenious detective stories with a powerful sense of place and a varied cast of sympathetic and unusual characters. Her heroine is a winner (The Times)
Compelling, intelligent and increasingly mesmerising (Peter James on The Stranger Diaries)
At once a homage to the Gothic thriller, and a re-imagining, it is goose-bump spooky, smart, and haunting, in every sense. I loved this book! And you will too (Louise Penny on The Stranger Diaries)