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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Tags: Elly Griffiths, forensic archeology, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, mystery, Mystery/Suspense, Review, Thriller, Thriller