Title: The Crossing Places (A Ruth Galloway Mystery)
Author: Elly Griffiths
Release Date: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: 4 out of 5
Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist living in an area of England called Saltmarsh. When the bones of a young girl are found, Ruth is called in by the police to identify them and see if they are historic remains, or the bones of young Lucy Downey who disappeared 10 years ago. Though it seems simple enough, this one request drags Ruth into a a police case where she realizes she can’t trust anyone, even her oldest friends.
I wasn’t exactly sure how an archaeologist might fit into a murder mystery when I first picked up The Crossing Places, but I was eager to give it a try. After all, I do love reading books about archaeology, and I can’t get enough of good mysteries. Luckily, Griffiths is a talented author, and incorporated Ruth into this novel in a believable way.
Ruth’s role in the murder/kidnapping investigation was to decipher letters the police department had received about the kidnapping, presumably from the kidnapper himself (or herself). These letters were littered with references to history and archaeology, and it was up to Ruth to determine what relevance they had, if any, to where Lucy might be, and whether she is dead or alive. Ruth is insightful and quick, really showing how smart she is through her deductions. She was a very appealing main character, both personally and professionally.
The mystery was very well done and keeps the reader guessing. There are a lot of twists and turns, but none of them difficult to believe. Additionally, the setting of the novel and the presence of archaeological ruins gives this novel a certain spooky atmosphere. This isn’t a book I’d want to read at night during a storm. It’s certainly enough to give you chills.
I enjoyed The Crossing Places and am thrilled to have an advance review copy of the sequel, The Janus Stone. Griffiths did an excellent job developing both her main and secondary characters, and I’m eager to return to the Saltmarsh to visit with them again. If you’re a mystery fan, definitely put this on your list – it’s worth every second you spend with it.