The Outcast Dead(67)
Author:Elly Griffiths

    ‘There’s plenty of time,’ says Janet comfortably.

    And that, Ruth muses, as she gets into her car, is certainly true. One thing you learn as an archaeologist; there’s always plenty of time.


    Norwich Castle, a magnificent building that dominates the city’s skyline, was once a prison. During the nineteenth century hangings took place on Castle Hill, with the ‘new drop’ gallows erected on the bridge. For details of these terrible events I am indebted to Neil R Storey’s fascinating book Hanged at Norwich. Mother Hook and her crimes are fictional though there were many similar cases in Victorian times. Grave robbing was also a real fear. I was lucky enough to see a wonderful exhibition about the Resurrection Men at the Museum of London.

    The ruined church at Saxlingham Thorpe is also real – and well worth a visit – but Jemima Green and her family are fictional. There is no such programme as Women Who Kill and its cast and crew have no counterparts in real life.

    Every year at Cross Bones Graveyard in London a service is held for the ‘outcast dead’ buried in what was once a communal grave for ‘single women’ and paupers. This seemed such a lovely idea that I have transported it to Norfolk. The University of North Norfolk is purely fictional. For real-life archaeological information I am indebted to my husband, Andrew Maxted. Thanks also to Dr Frauke Dingelstad for answering all my medical questions. However, I have only followed the experts’ advice as far as it suits the plot and any subsequent mistakes are mine alone.

    This book is set in 2011. The Campbell’s Soup tower in King’s Lynn was demolished in 2012, thus depriving Nelson of a useful landmark.

    Finally, special thanks to my children, Juliet and Alex, who first had the idea which became The Outcast Dead. This book is for them.

    Elly Griffiths, January 2014

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