Read the first chapter of The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths

The Chalk Pit

The 9th book in the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich's web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity - now it suggests a much more sinister purpose.

Posted on February 23, 2017 in Extract
Tags: Author Content, british crime, crime fiction, dr ruth galloway

Extract

3.20 a.m., 3 June 2015

He shouldn’t really be driving; they all know that. But Solly has probably had the least to drink of all of them and, besides, he has a calm self-possession that makes him able to carry off all sorts of excesses and still remain the reliable, charming boy next door. ‘Boy from the next-door mansion,’as Dennis once put it.

But there are no buses and no one has the money for a taxi so Solly takes the keys from Em and drives slowly and carefully round the one-way system. Dennis and Em don’t help by going ‘Whee’ at the corners and shouting witticisms to the few pedestrians to be seen in Norwich at three o’clock on a Wednesday morning. One of them, a police officer pushing a bike, looks up and shakes his fist.

 

‘Get off and milk it!’ yells Dennis

‘Shut up, Dennis,’ says Grace.

‘People hate students enough as it is.’

Grace is sitting next to Solly and feels obliged to talk to him, to keep him concentrating on the road. This is difficult enough when the road in question keeps swooping up in front of her and tying itself in knots. God, just how much had she drunk? Those tabs on top of it too. Solly is doing well though, not speeding, looking from left to right at junctions. They are heading out of town now on the A147. Dennis and Em have fallen asleep but Grace tries to stay awake for Solly’s sake. They take the turn into Denning Road. Solly goes slightly wide but there’s nothing coming so no harm done.

 

‘I like this road,’ says Grace. ‘I’d love to live in one of those big houses.’

‘Then you’ll have to marry a rich man, darling,’ says Solly, slurring slightly.

‘That’s a bit . . .’ She can’t think of the word. ‘Crap,’ she settles for.

‘I might get rich on my . . . on my own . . . in my . . . Christ! Solly!’

 

But he has seen it too. A man standing in the middle of the road with his arms outstretched. There’s something biblical about him: long hair and beard, wearing robes or some kind of cloak. Grace yells and Solly jams on the brakes. The car skids to the other side of the road and Dennis and Em wake up.

 

‘What the . . .?’

‘There was a man . . . a man in the road,’ says Grace.

 

But when they get out of the car there is no one there, just the long road between the tall dark houses.

 

The Chalk Pit is published in hardback on 23rd February.

 

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