The Night Hawks is a folklore-inspired mystery and the thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloways mystery series by Elly Griffiths.
You would think twelve books into the series, it would be hard to understand what was going on. But though I could tell that the characters had documented histories, enough background was explained to quickly pick up this book and enjoy it without first reading the past books. Of course, now I want to read all twelve of them, but that is a happy problem.
I loved the folklore inspiration of the Black Shuck that is the backbone of the mystery. I had never heard the tale, so it was fascinating to learn about it. I also loved how the author used the folklore of this creature to increase the suspense at specific points in the story dramatically. The fascinating support character, Cathbad, is full of Norfolk folklore tales such as Black Shuck and is one of the most exciting support characters in the story.
There is such a delightfully diverse group of support characters – some eccentric and some more familiar. I could tell the series had deep roots because all the characters were so unique and well-developed that I could easily imagine them and delight at being in their company. The main character, Ruth, is exceptionally layered with nuances and quirks that make her instantly relatable. I can see how she can carry a series for thirteen novels.
Ruth and Nelson’s relationship is one that drew me in. Not overly romantic, they do share a daughter, and though he stayed with his wife for many years because of their young son, I could easily discern that Ruth and Nelson still share deep feelings for each other. I do not usually side with the “other women” in love triangles. Still, I was not far into the story before I found myself feeling Ruth’s pain that she never actually verbalizes or even reflects.
I did not even guess the murderer, though the reason is not as much of a surprise. Did plot holes exist? Possibly, but it did not phase me as I read because there were so many other elements to delight in that they took most of my focus.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a puzzling mystery with a fun touch of paranormal folklore, this is the story you have been hoping to read and do not be worried if you haven’t read any of its twelve predecessors as it can stand alone quite easily. But beware, you are going to want to read them once you finish this one.