When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.
When a child's bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.
The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory - and in serious danger.
The Crossing Places marks the beginning of a captivating new crime series featuring an irresistible heroine.
This first book in a new British mystery series already has lots of fans among our readers. All 17 of our First Impressions reviewers liked the book, and are looking forward to the next installment.
What's not to love? Archeology, history, mysticism, mystery, suspense, a likable female lead character, the promise of a series, and a pleasing, low-key humor. An easy read, but with enough meat to be interesting (Juliet F)...Beneath the mystery plot, the book, as suggested by the title, delves into boundaries: emotional, professional, personal, ethical and, of course, physical. A final plot twist at the end hints at even more upheaval in books to come. I look forward to Ms. Griffiths's next book in the series (Carol C.) (Reviewed by BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers).
With her brittle exterior and general distaste for human companionship, Ruth is a difficult heroine with whom to empathize, but the novel's archeological details and the unsettling denouement go far in making up for her prickly character.
Starred Review. Griffiths's story is strong, well plotted, and suspenseful, leaving the reader eager for more adventures on the windswept Norfolk coast. Highly recommended.
Starred Review. A winning debut. Aficionados may guess the killer early on, but the first-rate characters and chilling story are entrancing from start to finish.
Starred Review. A knockout start for a series that should have broad appeal across the crime genre, from thriller fans to lovers of slightly edgy cozies.
The London Times
Griffiths' publishers clearly believe that they are on to a winner, already advertising this as the first in a series of Ruth Galloway novels. They might be right; her lead character is engagingly awkward enough to be perversely appealing, as several of the males around her seem unexpectedly to agree. She has also left Ruth in an interestingly inconvenient position for the follow-up.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Alan K. (Westport, MA) The Crossing Places I agree with Betty B. although a 5, in my mind reserved for the best of the best, seems too high a rating. The plot is enjoyable, the setting great but it is the character of Ruth Galloway that captures my primary interest. I would definitely be... Read More
Rated of 5
by Janalee G. (West Palm Beach, FL) The Crossing Places Strangely enough, I had ordered this book from the UK before it came up on the review list--a very good read! The mystery itself isn't difficult to sort out--there are a limited number of possible suspects. The beauty of the book comes from the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Anne B. (Fredonia, WI) Chills and Thrills I love archeology which drew me to this book in the first place. And it didn't disappoint, but then, there is the mystery, and the fact that the archeologist is the key in helping solving the mystery pulls me in even further. The discovery of... Read More
Rated of 5
by Jane D. (Boulder, CO) The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway is a delightful, human, and quirky character. This is a fun and exciting mystery, while also offering interesting tidbits of archeology, ancient cultures, and Norse mythology. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Rated of 5
by Tricia L. (Auburn, WA) Irresistible setting and premise; somewhat predictable I really love the protagonist for this series. That alone will keep me reading the series, but I would love for the author to be braver in how she executes the high-pitched dramatic moments. I skipped some pages. But if you love British mysteries,... Read More
Rated of 5
by Susan (Maple Grove, MN) “not quite earth, not quite sea” This book pairs archaeology with criminal investigation – a good pairing since both disciplines use clues to solve mysteries. The characters are pretty well developed and interesting. You get a good feel for the locale, and learn about an area that... Read More
The Norfolk Coast
Norfolk is a largely rural county, located on the east coast of England, in an area known as East Anglia, about a 2 hour train ride from London. Its 43-mile coast along the North Sea is defined by a range of wide beaches, chalky cliffs, sand dunes, and salt marshes that house world-famous bird reserves. The area was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1968, with over 450 square kilometers (173 square miles) of undeveloped coastal landscape. The villages display a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and over 650 medieval churches remain throughout Norfolk county.
An Iron Age Celtic tribe called the Iceni inhabited the area of Norfolk between the first century BC and first century AD. The land is rife with archeological evidence of their daily life, including recent...
British Parliament asks Amazon to clarify why it pays $9 million in income tax on $23 billion of UK sales.(May 20 2013) Amazon will be called back to give further evidence to members of the British Parliament "to clarify how its activities in the U.K. justify its low corporate...