Review: The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

September 1, 2010 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mystery/Suspense, Review, Thriller 10

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (January 5, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0547229895
  • Source: Library copy

    Ruth Galloway, archeologist, lives in a remote area near Norfolk called Saltmarsh.  She has experience recovering ancient relics & remains of the Iron Age people, but when a child’s body is discovered on a remote beach she is intrigued.  The local police, lead by  Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, call in Ruth for asssistance.  The bones are believed to be those of a young girl named Lucy, missing for a decade.  Since Lucy’s disappearance, Nelson has been receiving bizzare letters about the young girl.

    The bones turn out to be over two thousand years old, but Ruth becomes a part of the case when the letters reveal the writer has a knowledge of archeology.  Another girl goes missing and the pace of the investigation speeds up.  Soon Ruth discovers she’s a lot closer to the case than she’d like and in a great deal of danger.

    I’ve always been fond of forensic mysteries. In college, I took several archeology courses and the entire science has always fascinated me.  When I heard about this series, I was instantly drawn to it. Griffiths paints a very exciting, heart-pounding portrait of a crime.  What I loved about it most was Ruth’s character. She was real, she had flaws.  She’s overweight and lives with a bunch of cats in a remote cottage. She wasn’t a Barbie doll, but a truly average human being.  In addition, she’s smart, independent and quite witty. These details make Ruth a fascinating and endearing character, one that readers will be drawn to and appreciate.

    The setting added a great deal to the mystery.  Where the North Sea meets the land, the landscape is full of deep pits of mud, neither land nor water. Thousands of years ago the area held religious significance to its inhabitants. While Saltmarsh is a fictional location, I found an image of a similar landscape:

    I highly recommend this book to those looking for a new mystery series. I’m looking forward to reading & reviewing the second book in this series, THE JANUS STONE, scheduled for release in January 2011.

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    10 Responses to “Review: The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths”

    1. Kay

      Isn’t this a wonderful series? I loved reading CROSSING PLACES earlier this year and couldn’t wait for JANUS STONE. Got it from Book Depository. It’s a winner, in my opinion, as well. There’s just something about those characters, Ruth especially. Glad it worked so well for you!

      • Jenn
        Twitter: jennbookshelves

        Oh I didn’t even think of Book Depository! I downloaded the egalley from Netgalley and received a hardcopy from the publisher. I’ve got my bases covered!

    2. nomadreader (Carrie)
      Twitter: nomadreader

      I have this one on my shelf, and I’m really looking forward to it! I’m glad you liked it such. I’m looking forward to the sequel too, as I have it for review.

    3. carol

      I have to add this to my list. I love mysteries where the setting is almost a character in and of itself.

    4. gavin

      I’ve been hearing about Griffith’s books for a while now. Must add this series to my TBR list!

    5. GeraniumCat
      Twitter: geraniumcat

      I really like the sound of this – archaeology, cats and a mystery, what more could one want? I’ve just read something similar, The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis, set in Devon and about policeman who is interested in archaeology. It’s the first in a series, too.

      I found your blog because you’ve signed up for RIPV. Your Fright Fest sounds like a great idea, too, so I’ll be back!