Posts Tagged ‘The Dead House’


Author: Harry Bingham

Published: 28 July 2016
Reviewed: 1 September 2016

5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Orion in return for an honest review



British detective Fiona Griffiths, one of the most engaging female protagonists in crime thrillers, is back with her toughest case yet.
When the body of a young woman is found in an old ‘dead house’ – the annexe where the dead were stored before burial in medieval times – of a tiny church in a small town in Wales, it seems that past and present have come together in a bizarre and horrifying way. For DC Fiona Griffiths, the girl – a murder victim whose corpse was laid out with obvious tenderness – represents an irresistibly intriguing puzzle, given Fiona’s unusual empathy for the dead. And when her investigations lead her to an obscure and secretive monastery hidden in a remote valley, she finds that the murder victim is far from the only victim of a dark and disturbing melding of modern crime and medieval religious practices. Only Fiona is capable of solving this brilliantly crafted mystery.

My Thoughts & Review:

The Dead House is the fifth instalment of the Fiona Griffiths series and in all honesty this can be read as a standalone.  For those who have not read the previous four novels and wish to do so, the back catalogue provides great background to this character as well as showcases the skills of Harry Bingham.

The story begins with the discovery of a body, but strangely this body has been laid out peacefully and there is no obvious apparent crime.  The even more intriguing idea is that the body was laid out in what was once a ‘dead house’, in medieval times corpses were laid out in these dead houses temporarily before burial – this could have been for numerous reasons including weather conditions being too poor to allow grave digging.
The identity of this body and the circumstances for the final resting place require investigation.  During the course of her investigations, Fiona realises there is more to this case, the discoveries she makes lead her to the tangled web of organised crime.

Continuing with his educating his readers, Bingham gives great detail on topics of rhinoplasty,  seed digestion and prayer – quite how he finds the time to research these things I will never know, but I certainly find them interesting and it adds another layer of brilliance to his books.

Using Wales as the setting for this story adds to the charm of the novel, the rugged and historic landscape are wonderfully described.  The detail of the monastery is vivid and gives the reader a great mental image whilst reading.

Fiona Griffiths is an interesting character, very much a maverick detective.  Her affinity with the dead is interesting and adds another layer to this already complex character.  She can be a hard character to like and understand, but she is worth sticking with.  Her personality and quirks will soon have a reader hooked!

An absolutely gripping thriller from a master of the genre!

You can buy a copy of The Dead House here.


About the Author


Author image & information courtesy of Amazon

Harry is the author of the Fiona Griffiths series of crime novels, set in Cardiff and featuring a heroine described by the Sunday Times as ‘The most startling protagonist in modern crime fiction … brutal, freakish and totally original.’ Harry – slightly less freakish than his creation – lives in Oxford with his wife and young family. He also runs The Writers’ Workshop, an editorial consultancy for new writers. His books on Getting Published and How to Write are among the leading titles in their field.

To find out more about Harry and his books go to his website or follow him on Twitter @harryonthebrink


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