At Norwich and Ely Cathedrals over two nights internationally acclaimed crime writer Elly Griffiths spoke to thousands as she introduced her new title The Last Word. But it was Manea Village Hall that trumped them both, with an audience of around fifty, as she launched the book there on publication day, hours before the cathedrals could claim their prize.
“We got lucky through loyalty,” says organiser David Learner. “It was while I was managing author events at Waterstones King’s Lynn in 2011 that Elly’s publicist rang out of the blue to introduce a relatively new writer who’d constructed a story about a forensic archaeologist called Dr Ruth Galloway and did I want to chat to her?
“I read that first book – The Crossing Places – and I was hooked.”
Elly’s writing homeland is the sparse North Norfolk coast, a rare setting for crime and in 2022 Elly put Ruth Galloway to bed, for now, having completed the 15th in the series.
“It was the right place to stop,” she said. “There are new places to go. Ruth will be back, at some point.”
The accolades have come thick and fast for the writer who now boasts 18th place on the list of most borrowed authors from UK libraries.
Along the way her first standalone novel The Stranger Diaries was a top 10 paperback best seller in 2018; she was selected for the Radio 2 Book Club and as a summer 2019 Richard and Judy book, winning the prestigious Edgar Award for Best Novel in the USA the same year.
Now she’s been translated into more than thirty languages.
The Last Word reunites a trio of unlikely friends whom readers first met in The Postscript Murders and is set in and around Elly’s beloved south coast of England.
She herself lives in Brighton and has at last become used to throwing herself into the sea for wild swimming at its bleakest.
Her heart remains in Norfolk though and once again she promised to return in early 2025 when a totally new strand of adventures begins. Her American publisher has described it as The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Outlander.
Her fans simply cannot wait.
Manea will, but then the village knows she’ll be back. Soon.