The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

Janus Stone

‘The Janus Stone’ is the second in Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway novels and was my May selection for the reading group to which I belong. I chose ‘The Janus Stone’ because I don’t normally read crime fiction and the reading group has many crime fiction fans.

Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist called in by DCI Harry Nelson when the skeleton of a child is discovered by builders demolishing a Victorian House in Norwich. The house has had a sinister history, as two children went missing, never to be found, when the house was used as a children’s home.

I always avoid saying too much about the plot in my blog as I think this can spoil the read for others, but the narrative was entirely credible and thoroughly well researched with its references to Janus without being smug or preachy. I found it totally absorbing and exciting – a true page turner.

What I thought was so skilful about Kelly Griffiths’ writing was that, whilst there were references to the first Ruth Galloway novel, they were so well woven into this one, the reader didn’t feel they only had half the story as I have found with other series.

The characters in ‘The Janus Stone’ are very realistic, flawed and human so that they come alive on the page and transform form mere characters to real people. I especially warmed to Ruth and Harry. Their story is definitely not over in this novel and I’m desperate to know what happens next to them.

A further triumph was Elly Griffiths’ use of setting. She has the ability to make a scene real and to convey something sinister exquisitely. I know Norfolk well and the descriptions were perfect. Similarly, I found there was a lightness of touch at times so that the narrative has humour as well as its darker side.

I thought ‘The Janus Stone’ was brilliant. I am now a confirmed crime fiction and Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway fan. I’m off to read the others in the series.

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