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The Janus Stone: Bones are buried beneath it and secrets hidden Hardcover – 4 Feb 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 247 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; First Edition edition (4 Feb. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849161585
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849161589
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.2 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'...it is topically terrifying enough but far more so when it is combined with pagan rites ... bone-chilling stuff' Times. (The Times)

'Her lead character is engagingly awkward enough to be perversely appealing... on this evidence Griffiths has wrought something of a miracle' The Times. (The Times)

'It's always a pleasure when an author's second book lives up to the promise of the first, and this is certainly true of the second in Griffiths's series... There's a satisfying meaty plot - family secrets, insanity and ancient mythology, both pagan and Roman - but it's Griffiths's dryly humorous writing and the appeal of her two main characters that make these books such a treat ... More please.' Guardian. (Guardian)

Book Description

The discovery of a child's skeleton lays bare terrible secret's from Norwich's past in the second gripping mystery for Dr Ruth Galloway --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ruth Galloway - forensic archaeologist - is pregnant, but she is not sure how or when to tell the father - DCI Harry Nelson. In the meantime there are two fascinating archaeological digs taking place not far from where Ruth lives at Saltmarsh on the North Norfolk coast. One is a Roman site near Swaffham, where she knows the archaeologists working there and the other is the site of an old house in Norwich where the developer is intending to build luxury apartments. Ruth is called in because the headless skeleton of a small child is found under a doorway of the house in Norwich.

From this creepy beginning an atmospheric story unfolds with Ruth's own life becoming increasingly at risk as she and Nelson gradually uncover the secrets the skeleton hides. Ruth is far from being a typical heroine, overweight, unfashionable and ferociously clever with few social graces. But there is something endearing about her fierce independence and her determination to unravel the mysteries presented to her. I really enjoyed this story not least because I am familiar with the area in which it is set. I thought it was cleverly plotted and the final denouement was tense and exciting. There was a reappearance of some of the characters from the first book in this series - `The Crossing Places'. Cathbad, the Druid, Shona - Ruth's somewhat flaky friend, and of course Harry Nelson.

The background of Roman and Pagan mythology and modern day Catholicism is fascinating and well researched and I thought the character of Father Hennessey, the Catholic priest who ran the children's home which formerly occupied the Norwich site, was well drawn and convincing. The relationships between the police involved in the investigation were also interesting. This book is an excellent follow up to `The Crossing Places' and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
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Format: Hardcover
Don't you just hate it when you find a fabulous now author and then find they have only written 2 books...? I am really looking forward to hearing more from Ruth and Harry Nelson in future books; I found both 'Crossing Places' and 'The Janus Stone' on the same day and read them both within a couple of days as they were 'unputdownable'! Write quickly please Elly!

The last time I found an author this appealing was a couple of years ago when I discovered Phil Rickman; but he kept me entertained for months with the number of books he had already written!

So what is the appeal? The story is well written and researched, and pacy...but this is not what keeps readers gripped. The characters leap out from the pages; Ruth, with her self contained existence, living in a remote cottage with her cat; her parents with their born again fervour, which is totally alien to Ruth. (I love their reaction to her pregnancy) Harry, who plainly loves his wife and family, but who seems to be headed towards a sort of menage a trois in future books...and my favourite character, who just has to be Cathbad! I can just see him now, purple cloak swirling, a sea breeze tugging at his hair, gazing mystically out to sea...lol...

Is he genuinely posessed of magical powers? I look forward to seeing how he develops. I am really looking forward to seeing how they all develop, so come on Elly, back to the computer...

Michelle Jones
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so glad that I enjoyed this book. I found Elly Griffiths' first book disappointing and quite shallow in places but with her second book, she leaves us in no doubt that there is a definite future for Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist and DCI Nelson.

The two main protagonists have become more rounded and believable characters and the cast of recurring lesser inhabitants of Ruth's world are more delicately drawn and now provide a believable support network for her.

As in the first book, Ruth is brought in to investigate some recently unearthed bones, and we are drawn into a more recent crime event than it at first appears. The action takes us over much of Norfolk from Norwich via Swaffham to Ruth's bolt hole on the windswept North Norfolk marshes and involves Roman myths, Catholicism and missing children.

Her relationship, or lack of it, with Nelson is intriguing and made all the more interesting by her recent pregnancy, and I felt myself warming to Ruth far more than I had in the first book. I didn't second guess the ending this time and was more than surprised at times. I hope that we see more from Elly Griffiths as I for one am more than happy to follow her journey through life and love on the bleak marshes of East Anglia.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Keen to know what happened to forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway after the end of Elly Griffiths' crime début The Crossing Places, I started reading the second instalment in her story, The Janus Stone, straight away. Much as I did with The Crossing Places I raced through The Janus Stone, in which Ruth is called into determine the age of a child's skeleton unearthed beneath a house with a chequered past. This time, however, things are further complicated by Ruth's unexpected pregnancy, the result of a one-night-stand with Harry Nelson, the gruff (and happily married) DCI in charge of the case.

Much as I enjoyed The Crossing Places, there were plot elements that I found faintly ludicrous, and I must say the same applies (perhaps to a slightly lesser extent) here. The story follows much the same formula as its predecessor - bones are discovered, Ruth helps Harry in his investigation along with a supporting cast of recurring characters, Ruth ends up in jeopardy as a result - but it's all good fun. There's dark creepiness aplenty and a few shocks, but don't come to these books looking for gritty realism. There's a touch of pantomime about the character eventually revealed as the villain, and it all gets a little bit Hammer Horror in places.

Ruth and Harry's relationship - now platonic - remains convincing, and Harry manages to remain largely likeable despite being a man who has cheated on his wife. His slim, attractive hairdresser, that Griffiths could lazily have depicted as a airheaded cow, is in fact intelligent, kind and interested in the arts, a wise choice on the author's part as it stirs up all sorts of conflicting emotions for not just Harry and Ruth (who, while fond of each other, are in many ways profoundly unsuited to one another) but also the reader.
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