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February 09, 2016

The Crossing Places

The Crossing PlacesThe Crossing Places

By: Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places is the first book in the Ruth Galloway mystery series.  It’s set in modern day Norfolk and takes the reader all over the cool, foreboding eastern UK coastline.  Ruth Galloway is our heroine.  By day she’s a professor and forensic archaeologist, by night she’s a homebody who enjoys a glass of wine and the company of her cats.  Ruth is pulled from her comfortable life by DCI Harry Nelson when they stumble upon the remains of a young girl.  He’s a dedicated detective who hates when his cases go unsolved.

DCI Nelson was haunted for years by an unsolved case involving a missing girl, and his nerves are put to the test when another young girl goes missing.  While Ruth prefers the structured setting of an archaeology dig, she suddenly has to work in the fast paced world of police investigations to identify a set of bones.  DCI Nelson relies on her knowledge of bones, archaeology, and history to understand the manner in which a body is found and the historical relevance of the Norfolk coast.  While they are unlikely partners, they complement each other well.  The further Ruth and DCI Nelson dig into the mystery of the missing girls, the more Ruth is put in danger.

This is a character-driven mystery, and that is part of the fun.  The reader learns about Ruth’s personal life…quirks and flaws included.  I found her very realistic and relatable, and that doesn’t always happen in mysteries.  Ruth’s friends and colleagues add dimension and even a little humor to the story.  From a cloak-clad druid to a promiscuous gal pal, Ruth is never wanting for company.

Griffiths’ writing style is very detailed and adds the right amount of suspense.  She managed to describe ancient sacrifices and medieval history in a way that was engaging…not boring!  When I finished this book I immediately dove into book two in the series, The Janus Stone, which shows how much I enjoyed the characters and writing style.

Looking for more?  Check out the rest of the Ruth Galloway series or these mystery series:   Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire by Erin Hart, Reverend Clare Fergusson by Julia Spencer-Fleming or Temperance Brennan by Kathy Reichs.


Review By: Kirsten Edwards