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The Crossing Places: A case for Ruth Galloway [Paperback]

Elly Griffiths
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Aug 2009

A child's bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk coast, and the police ask local forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway to date them. Are these the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years ago?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for this missing child. Ever since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows Ruth's instincts and experience can help him finally put this case to rest.

Then a second child goes missing, and Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she's getting ever closer to the truth...

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The Crossing Places: A case for Ruth Galloway + The Janus Stone + The House at Sea's End: A Ruth Galloway Investigation
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (6 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847249582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847249586
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elly Griffiths was born in London. The inpsiration for her books about forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway came from her husband who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist. Elly lives near Brighton but often spends holidays on the wild Norfolk coast. She has two children and a cat.

Product Description


'Archaeology and crime often walk hand in hand in crime fiction, and seem a natural fit as they have in common both bones and quests for the truth. I've never before, however, read a crime novel in which the two blend as successfully as in The Crossing Places ... Elly Griffiths' characterization is as good as her writing, and I can't wait for the next in the series'

'Griffiths weaves superstition and myth into her crime novels, skilfully treading a line between credulity and modern methods of detection' Sunday Times.

'Griffiths' excellent series is well informed and original' Literary Review.

'A great series' Guardian.

From the Inside Flap

When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote, wild place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea under Norfolk's vast skies. For company she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them. The bones turn out to be two thousand years old, and DCI Harry Nelson, who called on Ruth for help, is disappointed. He'd hoped they would be the bones of a child called Lucy who's been missing for ten years. He's been getting letters about her ever since - bizarre notes with references to ritual and sacrifice and quoting the Bible and Shakespeare. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives another letter. Soon it becomes clear that Ruth is in danger from a killer who knows that her expert knowledge is being used to help the police with their enquiries.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great setting, great characters 6 Feb 2010
By herladyship VINE VOICE
I really hope this will be the first of many novels featuring Ruth Galloway and Harry Nelson. Both are likeably flawed and the relationship between them is intriguing. Wonderful descriptions of the Norfolk coastline.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars - Good debut mystery 4 Jan 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: They wait for the tide and set out at first light.

Archaeologist Ruth Galloway is a single, overweight woman who lives with her two cats on the edge of the Saltmarsh. DCI Harry Nelson asks for her help when human bones are found on a nearby beach. Nelson is haunted by the case of Lucy Downey, a young girl who disappeared ten years ago. A second child now disappears. Nelson believes the two cases are linked.

It is always a treat to start a book by an author I'd not previously read and discover it is a very enjoyable book.

The opening is particularly effective and creates a strong sense of place. In fact, it is the evocative quality of Ms. Griffiths' descriptions that entranced me and held me fast into the story. Add to that fascinating historical, geological, archeological and forensic information that enhances the story, but never overwhelms or slows it down.

The characters are only slightly less effective. I loved Ruth. She is definitely a character with whom I can identify. It is so refreshing not to have a young, slim, gorgeous protagonist. She is smart, strong and independent. A slight criticism would be that the author focused more than needed on Ruth's weight and being single. There's a point where you say, "Okay, I've got it."

Detective Nelson, on the other hand, seemed rather anachronistic in his view toward women and I was rather amazed at some of the things he didn't know, particularly with a British education. The other characters felt contrived.

I did guess the villain fairly early on, but there were enough twists and red herrings that I wasn't completely certain. There is an incident with one of Ruth's cats I felt was predictable and not really necessary to the plot.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The start of a fantastic new series 11 Aug 2010
Ruth Galloway is in her late 30', has cats, is slightly overweight and orders loads of books from Amazon (what¡s not to love?). She is a forensic archaeologist at the University of Norfolk, specialising in bones, and is called out to the saltmarshes on the Norfolk Coast by Police Detective Harry Nrelson when a body is unearthed. The body is discovered to be that of a young girl from the iron age, but it brings to the surface the disappearance of a five year old girl, Lucy Downey, who has never been traced and whom Harry Nelson can¡t get out of his head. He then shows Ruth a series of letters he has been sent over the years with cryptic clues about Lucy¡s disappearance and asks Ruth to help him decipher them. In the midst of this, and almost 10 years to the day since Lucy vanished, a four year old girl is snatched from her back garden and Harry fears that the perpetrator has struck again.

What I loved most about this books is the setting and the characters. The saltmarshes on the north Norfolk coast sounded so bleak and wind swept that I longed to be there in Ruth¡s little stone cottage sipping coffee and reading books while rain hurled itself at the windows. I loved the image of the sand dunes and sea spray and the solitude. Ruth and Harry are wonderful leads too: Ruth is a woman after my own heart and Harry is a straight-talking northern bloke (and being a northerner myself I loved his tell-it-like-it-is attitude but also recognising his warm heart under his no nonsence exterior).

Reading this book made me want to do two things: 1) go for a long weekend on the north Norfolk coast C which we are now doing in October and 2) want to rush out and buy the second in the series, The Janus Stone (which I have also now got and it is high on my pile!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great start to a crime series 4 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The setting was the pull for this one for me; I grew up in East Anglia and have surprised myself lately by finding that I still have a soft spot for the area. The Saltmarsh featured in the novel is invented (as Griffiths clearly indicates in the Author's Note), but it's entirely plausible as a Norfolk place. It is clear that Griffiths knows the Norfolk coast well and she writes of it with affection, but without romanticising and minimising its bleakness.

If the setting was the initial attraction, Ruth Galloway's character was what kept me in it for the long haul. Unusual and rather awkward, she's a great creation. Her academic life and motivation ring true and her interaction with Harry Nelson, who doesn't really know what to make of her, is a great touch. Most of the novel is told from her point of view, although not in the first person, which means we can also sometimes get a glimpse of something that Ruth isn't privy to.

The plot is involving and well-constructed, with plenty of possible culprits and red herrings. The tension is ramped up when it becomes clear that Ruth herself is in danger, and the wildness of the setting really comes into its own at this point, adding further complications.

Overall, this was a most enjoyable read and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series. Using Ruth's archaeological expertise gives it a different angle from other crime series, and the bleak rural setting provides an additional edge. Harry Nelson is a complex character too, and I'm sure there's still a lot of character (and plot) development to come in further books, as we end with a cliffhanger in terms of Ruth's personal life. I'm glad to say that it seems this won't be one of those series where the key characters are 'back in their places' at the start of each book, and nothing really moves on.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
A very good read
Published 1 day ago by Christine Reilly-Smythe
2.0 out of 5 stars wrote a really good review of the Outcast Dead but was disappointed...
Oh dear, wrote a really good review of the Outcast Dead but was disappointed with this. Did not find the Lucy Downey denouement at all credible I'm afraid (can't be more specific... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Kerensa
4.0 out of 5 stars Very pleasing - forensic archeology on theNorfolk coast
Very interesting murder mystery with a mix of forenics, history and present day. The main character is a likeable woman called on by the police for her skills in forensic... Read more
Published 12 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Most Enjoyable
Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist in Norfolk whose expertise is called upon by DI Nelson when some bones are unearthed on the saltmarshes. Read more
Published 17 days ago by DJF
5.0 out of 5 stars The. Crossing Places
This book is a page turner, l could not put it down. Every time I thought I knew who it wad l discovered that I was wrong
It keeps you gripped all the way through, l will... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Ms. Susan M. Heeley
5.0 out of 5 stars Moody. a wonderful advert for North Norfolk
Atmospheric, great descriptions evocative of East Anglia. Archeology at just the right level. Not too nerdy but descriptive in any case
Published 1 month ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good read.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really gripping story. Have ordered 2 more books by the same Author. It arrived really quickly.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs C L Long
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent discovery.
I picked up this book because of my interest in archaeology and was really glad I'd done so. Ruth Galloway is a very likeable heroine and by the end of the story I felt I'd got to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. E. A. Patrick
4.0 out of 5 stars very good. Must read some more of her novels
Very, very good. Must read some more of her novels!
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Toni Hayden
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