Thursday, June 25, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1) by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places is the first book in the long-running Ruth Galloway series written by Elly Griffiths.

Galloway is a 30-something, archaeology professor at the  fictional University of North Norfolk who lives alone in the nonexistent town of King's Lynn near a saltwater marsh where about a decade before she was part of an archaeological dig which resulted in the discovery of a Bronze Age artifact called a henge. Recently a 6-year old girl has been kidnapped out of her backyard, almost a decade after a similar unsolved kidnapping of another young girl.

The police officer who is responsible for investigating both of these crimes is DI Nelson. He asks Dr. Galloway for assistance in analyzing some recently unearthed bones which they think may belong to one of the kidnapped girls (the bones turn out to be a few thousand years old which makes Ruth happy and Nelson unhappy). He tells Ruth that he has been receiving letters from the kidnapper for several years and let’s her read them since they have odd historical and mythical references . Later, Ruth figures out where the recently kidnapped girl is buried, devastating those parents who had not given up hope their little girl would be found alive.

Eventually things get much more complicated as people close to Ruth become implicated in both disappearances of the young girls as she recognizes some phrases used in the letters as well as the writing and alerts Nelson of her suspicions. The book concludes with a thrilling series of events that results in the resolution of both mysteries and upends several of Ruth’s relationships.

Overall, I quite enjoyed The Crossing Places. Griffiths does an excellent job of providing us a portrait of Ruth which makes her quite appealing. Her chemistry with DI Nelson is intriguing. The mystery was unimpressive (I almost never figure out the perpetrator in mystery books and I was able to guess whodunnit well before the reveal) but as in most genre books the my primary enjoyment is rooted in the connection with the characters and not the plot.

Title: The Crossing Places 
Elly Griffiths.
Paperback: 303 pages.
Date Published: February 5, 2009.
Date Read: June 12, 2020.

★★½☆  (3.5/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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