"The Crossing Places," by Elly Griffiths, is the first book in a series featuring DCI Harry Nelson and forensic archeologist/academic Ruth Galloway, set in Norfolk County, England. Nelson is haunted by the unsolved disappearance of a 5-year-old girl 10 years earlier, so when the skeleton of a child is found in the marshes on the coast of Norfolk, he is hopeful that the case can at last be solved, albeit in a tragic way. Ruth Galloway is called in to examine the bones, and she dates them to an Iron Age settlement, not Nelson's missing child at all. Soon, however, a second child goes missing, and the race is on to discover if there is any link to the earlier case or even to the distant past.... I had actually picked up the fourth book in this series to start, but within about 30 pages I realized that I liked the characters and their relationships enough to want to read the series from the beginning, and I was lucky enough to be able to find all three of the earlier books. Ruth is a marvelous heroine - fiercely independent, complex and, thankfully, a far cry from the stereotypical beautiful/competent/brave female-who-does-it-all that is so unrealistic yet common in fiction these days. Nelson is also complex and interesting - a Northerner who has never quite settled into the softer Southern atmosphere of Norfolk, deeply dedicated to his work but quite unable to "play the game" in terms of policing politics. The setting is also lovely, full of open ocean expanses and darkly brooding, treacherous marshland that can be, quite literally, a fatal place to walk. The secondary characters are also unique personalities in themselves, and the mystery is fairly clued; plus, one learns a lot about archeology and the prehistoric peoples of the region. I've already begun the second book in the series, and can't wait to get to the third and the fourth as well; recommended!