Summary and book reviews of The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places

A Ruth Galloway Mystery

By Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2010,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2010,
    288 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

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.

1

Waking is like rising from the dead. The slow climb out of sleep, shapes appearing out of blackness, the alarm clock ringing like the last trump. Ruth flings out an arm and sends the alarm crashing to the floor, where it carries on ringing reproachfully. Groaning, she levers herself upright and pulls up the blind. Still dark. It’s just not right, she tells herself, wincing as her feet touch the cold floorboards. Neolithic man would have gone to sleep when the sun set and woken when it rose. What makes us think this is the right way round? Falling asleep on the sofa during Newsnight, then dragging herself upstairs to lie sleepless over a Rebus book, listen to the World Service on the radio, count Iron Age burial sites to make herself sleep and now this; waking in the darkness feeling like death. It just wasn’t right somehow.

In the shower, the water unglues her eyes and sends her hair streaming down her back. This is baptism, if you like. Ruth’s ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

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).

Full Review Members Only (592 words).

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

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.

Library Journal

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.

Kirkus Reviews

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.

Booklist

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.

Reader Reviews
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

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

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 bones, ...   Read More

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.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

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...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Crossing Places, try these:

  • An Incomplete Revenge jacket

    An Incomplete Revenge

    by Jacqueline Winspear

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In her fifth outing, Maisie Dobbs, the extraordinary Psychologist and Investigator, delves into a strange series of crimes in a small rural community.

  • Pardonable Lies jacket

    Pardonable Lies

    by Jacqueline Winspear

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In the third novel of this bestselling series, London investigator Maisie Dobbs faces grave danger as she returns to the site of her most painful WWI memories to resolve the mystery of a pilot's death

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The City
by Dean Koontz

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  88Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.