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on 10 June 2017
Carefully plotted though at times rather demanding because the characters were fairly unlikable. The natural setting of wild Norfolk is well done. However, I don't think I will read another book about Ruth Galloway because I loathe coming across dreary monologues in italics by nightmarish perpetrators. Perhaps for some it adds to the menace, but I have a quick glance, then feeling irritated think, "So what"? To me it seems cheating.
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on 23 July 2013
Having read and enjoyed the first in this series, The Crossing Places: A case for Ruth Galloway, and being tempted by the taster for the next book which the publishers (they're a canny lot!) attached at the end, I clicked and bought this next one and started reading it straight away.
Which highlighted the fact that it's virtually the same book. That's not to say that was all bad: if you like a character-driven crime novel that's as much about the investigators as the crime, then you'll probably like this. It's impossible not to warm to forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway and her fellow investigator DCI Harry Nelson, and to enjoy their relationship - these are real people. It's very atmospheric, too, being firmly set in Norfolk again, and the everyday details and conversations are very well-observed: there's a down-to-earth wit and wisdom in this book that's very engaging.
But reading it gave me a very strong sense of deja vu, because it's the same basic plot structure as the previous one - bones are found, the past is investigated, a child murder is revealed, Dr Ruth's life is threatened, there's a frantic chase to save her. It's a well-worn sort of story, too, all the coincidences are very hard to swallow, and near the end DCI Nelson goes chasing after a shameless red herring which even a child could spot. All this, plus the fact that Dr Ruth is becoming a bit of a Mary Sue victim who protests too much about her unattractiveness (yet most of the men in the book seem to be pursuing her?) means that this series isn't shaping up as well as I'd hoped.
I'll try book 3, just in case it improves, but via the library rather than my credit card.
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on 17 February 2018
Elly Griffiths is my favourite author and Ruth Galloway is very interesting character and amusing in the way she views life and people. She lives and works as a forensic archeologist at a university and the stories are based mainly in Norfolk. The Janus Stone is the second in the series. I recommend that if you haven't read any in the series that you start with the first one The Crossing Places as it is interesting to see the characters develop.
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on 16 June 2017
This is the second book in this series I have read by Elly Griffiths. Obviously I enjoyed the first and downloaded second and intend to get next one ,looking forward to that. I like the twists and turns in author's style of writing. Newly acquainted with this area on the Norfolk coast which makes the stories come to life.
Would recommend this series .
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on 6 May 2012
Griffiths has an engaging style of writing that draws the reader into Ruth and Harry's worlds of archaeology and policing, and their awkward relationship. The two lead characters, along with Cathbad, a local druid, are very appealing and the strengths of the book are the unfolding of their relationship and the sense of place of the Norfolk coast. However, whilst the style of the storytelling, the characters and setting are good, the book struggles more with respect to the plot and the mystery. The Janus Stone overly relies on coincidence (there are a fair few in terms of time, place, people, activity) in order to drive the investigation along, and contains a few elements that didn't stack up. Griffiths has a passage near the end in which a character reflects on the case, thinking that, in so many words, 'such and such was unbelievable, and so was, and also, and yet it was all true'. A direct appeal to readers to forget that they had to suspend their disbelief too many times is not a good sign. Griffiths has a genuinely engaging set of characters and I am hooked on finding out what happens to them when the baby is born, but I really hope that the plotting improves so that it isn't so dependent on coincidence and unlikely plot twists. Overall, a largely enjoyable read as long as one doesn't mind suspending their belief every now and then.
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on 7 November 2016
Disappointingly this is more or less a rehash of the first Ruth Galloway book, with very similar themes and plot development. The main characters stand up well, but the murder motive seems paper thin and the final chase almost farcical. I'm also not convinced that the police can simply look up personal information from the 1951 census, as census information is kept strictly secret for 100 years.
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on 14 February 2014
I loved the first in the series featuring Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Harry Nelson and was hoping this was as good; sadly it wasn't.

I felt the first half of the book was just too slow and extremely repetitive, with events that were occurring constantly being repeated by the different characters but from the middle of the book I really enjoyed it. I did spot one of the main clues quite early on (I won't spoil the plot, as it's a good plot) and was surprised that Ruth or even Harry didn't see that one coming. I did feel it was a little like the first book in that Ruth's life is in danger (again not wanting to spoil the plot for anyone) and some of the events were a little implausible.

I do love the historical facts especially about the Romans. I find this extremely interesting. I also just love Ruth as she is so very normal and I know she is going to be a favourite character of mine. I am also a little in love with Harry, he's just a great, solid man.

All in all I enjoyed the last half of the book and I will definitely be reading the rest of the series as I want to find out what happens to Ruth and Nelson of course. I am sure it will get better because the first book was just so good.
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on 24 July 2017
This is the best Dr Ruth Galloway story that I have read.

The historical theme, the love interest, a pregnant heroine and an arrogant murderer who justifies his actions, they all combine together by Ms Griffiths to make a fascinating and fast moving story. Her description of the modern Norfolk landscape with dual carriageways and by-passes root the plot firmly in the present.
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on 1 January 2012
In this second book of the Ruth Galloway series, Griffiths gives us more archaeology, more deadpan, quirky humour, and a deeper insight into the intriguing relationship between Ruth and Nelson.

I have to admit that the plot is completely ridiculous (think ritual sacrifice and a love of Roman culture gone mad), a point which Griffiths herself seems to confirm when Robert Graves' I, Claudius becomes a reference point. But the real strength of these books is the great character of Ruth: overweight, close to forty, rather eccentric and completely alive.

The plot is sadly similar to the first book (The Crossing Places) but to offset this Griffiths has a distinctive voice, something becoming quite rare in `popular' fiction, and a wonderful sense of idiosyncratic humour which gives these books true personality. I love Ruth Galloway and am looking forward to her next outing.
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on 3 January 2012
First off - I haven't read the first book in this series - that doesn't seem necessary to the plot of this one, despite there being a continued storyline regarding the relationship of Ruth & the detective, Nelson.

This is a page turner, with enough momentum to take you through some of the sillier moments (which i don't want to give away - but a bit like in a horror film - why investigate the funny noises, alone and in the dark??)

The plot is well structured and has a few sub-plots & side stories to keep you interested and diverted from guessing whodunnit too quickly.

Overall i enjoyed the book so 3 stars might seem a bit harsh but they reflect:
1. the dippy behaviour of Ruth when her life is threatened - who otherwise seems a very rational character
2. the actual detail of the circumstances of the murder are also pretty hard to carry off - again i don't want to give the plot away - but it's hard to believe the murderer could actually have got away with it, or that the one who knew the secret could really have covered it up for so long.
3. so Ruth is a bit chubby and not very glam - fine and yes quite a nice change in some respects - but then it's hard to believe that all these handsome men are somehow drawn to her?
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