Since I started blogging I’ve been really neglectful of the books for my U3A Reading Group, but when Elly Griffiths cropped up this month I knew I had to set aside all my ARCs and review copies and read the first in the Ruth Galloway novels, as I’ve read many of the others but not The Crossing Places. The Crossing Places is published by Quercus and is available in e-book and paperback from Amazon UK, Waterstones, WH Smith and all good bookshops. At the time of writing this review the e-book is free on Amazon.
The Crossing Places
Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?
DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.
But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…
My Review of The Crossing Places
When archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is called in to look at some buried bones, little does she realise what a profound effect this will have on her life.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Crossing Places. I’m not sure whether having read later novels in the series enhanced my reading but it was certainly very interesting to read some of the back story that is alluded to later.
The story reminded me a little of a piece of music. It built and built, refrain upon refrain until the final crescendo which is dramatic and heart stopping as Ruth finds herself in considerable peril. Elly Griffiths certainly knows how to construct a plot that entertains and thrills her readers without being sensationalist and unrealistic.
The quality of the prose is so good. It has depth and substance but in a measured and sophisticated way, making it all the more attractive. Elly Griffiths paints such a vivid picture of Norfolk for her setting so that those who know the county accept it as totally authentic and those who don’t can picture it perfectly. Indeed, the Saltmarsh becomes as much a presence in the narrative as any of the characters. The archaeological detail is brilliantly researched and made me want to sign up to another dig myself. I was educated as well as entertained by this read.
I loved the characters. I appreciated that Dr Ruth Galloway isn’t the stereotypical wonder woman heroine of so many stories, but is somewhat socially inept, overweight and lives alone with her cats. I found it very easy to identify with her. Harry Nelson, too, is completely believable even though he is less well defined in this first book. Reading The Crossing Places has made me want to return to the whole series in order to see how the characters develop chronologically.
I envy those coming of the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. They are in for a total treat and The Crossing Places exemplifies the best of those novels.
I’d like to add too that all 12 members of the U3A reading group to which I belong universally loved The Crossing Places too.
You’ll find much more about Elly Griffiths on her website, by following her on Twitter and finding her on Facebook. Elly Griffiths also writes under her real name Domenica De Rosa and you can find out more here.