The Crossing Places

A Ruth Galloway Mystery

Griffiths, Elly

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Crossing Places
When a child's bones are found near an ancient henge in the wild saltmarshes of Norfolk's north coast, Ruth Galloway, a university lecturer in forensic archaeology, is asked to date them by DCI Harry Nelson who thinks they may be the bones of a child called Lucy who has been missing for ten years.

Publisher: Boston [Mass.] :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2010
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 0547229895
Branch Call Number: FICTION Gri
Characteristics: 303 pages : map ; 22 cm


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Feb 26, 2015
  • egandalf rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

This book was very poorly written. The concept was good, however, the writing was extremely poor.

May 11, 2013
  • LT rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The book is atmospheric and well-written. Interpersonal relationships are plausibly described, and the salt marshes of Norfolk provide an appropriately mysterious and desolate backdrop. // Some minor quibbles: It is intensely irritating when the heroine or one of her intimates remark on her "heavy-weight" status on every other page. (I calculate Ruth Galloway's weight at 175 pounds. Depending on her height and muscularity, she could be anywhere from reasonably fit to medically obese. Based on other descriptions in the book--i.e. "her surprisingly splendid body"--she is closer to shapely than amorphous.) // I agree with DeltaQueen that the secondary characters in the stories are stereotypical and under-developed. // In The Crossing Places, the police have, with Galloway's assistance, connected a current missing persons case to a cold case with similar circumstances. The police work related to the original crime sounds sloppy and aimless. Even if Griffiths' characters (and by implication, Griffiths) maintain otherwise, the inadequacy of the first investigation is obvious. This is the danger when one writes about amateur sleuths: how to convince the audience that the conveniently located novice is competent to uncover evidence that was missed by trained investigators, especially if those investigators have supposedly done a proper job. // Griffiths takes shameless advantage of a chain of coincidences to propel the course of action in her novel. It is difficult to suspend disbelief when she finally unveils the truth of the past and present crimes. The criminal mastermind is revealed, but his/her identity could have been interchangeable with that of two or three other characters. This is partly because the killer's motivation is never hinted at in advance or adequately explained after the fact. This is just like real life, perhaps, but frustrating in a mystery novel, where one expects something less dreary and inexplicable than senseless true-life crime.

Jul 15, 2012
  • 4ntrvlr rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Enjoyed this unconventional (overweight, older) heroine who through her expertise in bones gets drawn into a murder case. Good evocation of the north Norfolk coast. Will read more of these.

Jul 06, 2012
  • Gail123 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A very good read , I enjoyed it and will continue to read this author.

May 21, 2012
  • ladyshallot rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I'm not usually one for mystery, but this one was really quite good. Great read for a rainy day with a cup of hot tea.

May 11, 2012
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I was immediately drawn into The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths, making an instant connection with the main character. Ruth is portrayed as a mature woman, invested in her academic career, independent and capable, living in beautiful isolation with her two cats. She has her issues and problems, but she is far from a helpless heroine. With wry humor and intelligence, she faces her weight problem and loneliness in equal measures.

Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, is approached by the police to assist in the case of a missing young girl. Bones have been found and they need an expert opinion to date them. Even though these turn out to be Iron Age bones, Ruth and DI Nelson have established a connection and he continues to rely on her expertise in this case. He is also haunted by another, older case involving a missing child. Connecting these two cases are anonymous letters that make archaeological, biblical and literary references which resonate with Ruth.

The author has written a absorbing story and her main characters are both interesting and well developed. I felt she didn’t do quite as good a job with her secondary characters, as they seemed a little stereotypic She has placed her story in a unique setting of barren salt marshes, and blended the ancient and modern worlds to make The Crossing Places a creative and well-crafted mystery.

Mar 04, 2012
  • WomanOfMystery rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this. There are a few faults to be sure. Without giving the plot away it was pretty obvious who the real villain was mostly because Griffiths chose to have a victim's point-of-view scattered through the book. This was creepy, but gave away a lot.
I liked the unlikely hero Ruth who, despite her weight issues, seems to be able to run and jump with the best of them. There are a few "archaeologist turned detective" mystery series out there but Griffith's writing pushes along the plot briskly and I look forward to the next installment in the series.

Jan 25, 2012
  • givenmydruthers rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

While Griffiths is pretty good relative to many in the field, there were some problems with this book that I couldn't overlook. Too many red herrings and coincidences; seemingly normal characters who suddenly appeared to be unhinged; a way of writing about her protagonist's weight that seemed patronizing; and some description that I simply can't believe wasn't removed by an editor. The worst was something along the lines of "The letters then became less friendly in tone, and no longer addressed him this way, and made less reference to this, and more reference to that . . . " This was in the midst of giving us the letters themselves. I'm afraid I found myself hissing, Show, don't tell.

May 19, 2011
  • brianreynolds rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An unpretentious romantic comedy set in a pagan-friendly atmosphere on a saltmarsh on the east coast of UK. The hero is quite likeable. The plot, for the most part plausible. The writing, smart and tight. This would make a great "summer read," if not a life changing experience.

Sep 08, 2010
  • marleneww rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It's not often that I cannot put a book down..but this is such a book.

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