Title: The Janus Stone
Author: Elly Griffiths
Release Date: January 21, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Rating: 4 out of 5
A few months after the events from The Crossing Places, Ruth Galloway seems to have recovered emotionally. She is back at the university, working as a forensic archaeologist, when she is called in to advise on a skeleton found underneath a house that is being torn down. Since Roman-era pottery has been found in the area, they all assume the skeleton is from the same time period, but to Ruth’s shock, she finds that it is relatively recent. Once again, Ruth finds herself embroiled in a police case as she and Detective Nelson try to discover whose body it is, and why the skull seems to be missing.
I really enjoyed The Crossing Places, so I was thrilled to receive the sequel for review. I was eager to revisit Ruth Galloway and her spooky home in the Saltmarsh of northern England and to see what skeletons might be found next as a result of her work as forensic archaeologist.
The mystery in The Janus Stone is well-written and interesting. The skeleton found is real mystery, and the fact that the skull is missing really sends shivers down the reader’s spine. The characters delve into the history of the house, and once they discover it was formerly a children’s home, the plot really thickens. Griffiths takes the reader on twists and turns as they struggle to uncover who the murderer is.
Ruth Galloway has a lot of personal development in this story, which is gratifying. Her situation really changes and she rises to the occasion, taking responsibility for herself. I appreciated how she didn’t put herself in the danger she did in the first book, yet I missed her in a lot of ways. Ruth’s main job in this book is to date the skeleton; after that, she embarks on some of her own investigations, but generally, the case is in the hands of the police. I missed the forensic archaeology that was present in the first novel.
The Janus Stone was an interesting mystery that I enjoyed. The third book in the series, The House at Sea’s End, is coming out in early 2011 in the UK, but there’s no word yet on a US release date. I hope it’s soon, as I can’t wait to read more of Ruth’s great adventures.