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The Crossing Places: A Ruth Galloway Mystery Hardcover – Apr 28 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart (April 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771035861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771035869
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.5 x 22 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #701,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[Ruth Galloway] is solitary and plump and smart and self-assured, and very, very likeable."
— Margaret Cannon, Globe and Mail

"Griffiths has wrought something of a miracle."
The Times (London)

"An effective and compelling archeological mystery in a unique setting, with engaging and unusual leads, and plenty of surprises"
— BookLoons

"I can't wait for the next in the Ruth Galloway series."
— Amy Myers, author of the Auguste Didier mysteries

"The Crossing Places is tense and fast-moving, with a well-drawn protagonist who looks good for a series."
London Free Press

About the Author

ELLY GRIFFITHS's Ruth Galloway novels are inspired by the work of her husband, who gave up a job in finance to train as an archaeologist, and by her aunt, who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece's head with the myths and legends of that area. She and her husband have two children and live near Brighton.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Ted Feit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Jan. 29 2010
Format: Paperback
This debut novel in a new series pairs an archeologist and a detective inspector on the bleak coast of North Norfolk, where life has gone on since before the Bronze and Iron Ages. Ruth Galloway lectures at a local university and is an expert on ancient bones. Chief Inspector Nelson, who is haunted by a 10-year-old case in which a young girl disappeared with no trace found, asks Ruth to look at some buried bones which have been uncovered at an old burial site. The bones turn out to be 2,000 years old, eliminating the possibility that they belonged to the more recent victim.

But that is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as Ruth becomes more and more involved with Nelson and the investigation. Especially when another young girl is abducted. Tension increases as Ruth finds herself in dangerous positions and is threatened by the apparent murderer.

The descriptions of the coast and marshland are terrifyingly vivid, especially during storms. Ruth is made exceedingly human as she contemplates her obesity and lack of a love life. Both her life and the environment are bleak, but hardly without hope. The seeds of future installments are laid in this book, and leave us with something to look forward to. Recommended.
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on May 12 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Crossing Places is set on the Norfolk Coast in England, near a salt marsh - a marshy area between solid land and the ocean. This particular salt marsh has many secrets.

Forensic Archaeology Professor Ruth Galloway loves the marsh and it's isolation. She participated in a dig on the marsh ten years ago that uncovered an ancient henge. She has chosen to make her home on the lonesome wetland.

When DCI Harry Nelson is called in to investigate what looks to be child's bones discovered in the marsh, he asks Ruth for help, given her expertise. When the bones are proven to be over 200o years old, Harry is disappointed. He was hoping they were the remains of a child named Lucy, who disappeared over ten years ago. No trace of her was ever found and the case has haunted Harry ever since. But when another child is taken, it seem the marsh may hold even more secrets.

Griffith's language and descriptions capture perfectly the barren beauty of the marsh. (It made me want to visit this area) Ruth herself is an wonderful character. She isn't a cookie cutter mystery heroine. She is highly intelligent, but unsure of herself in social situations. She worries about her weight, but at the same time doesn't give a damn. She lives by herself with her cats. Ruth interests Harry -

"Like all forceful people (he calls it forceful rather than bullying), he prefers people who stand up to him, but in his job that doesn't happen ofter. People either despise him or kowtow to him. Ruth had done neither. She had looked him in the face, coolly, as an equal. He thinks he's never met anyone, any woman quite as sure of themselves as Ruth Galloway. "

The interpersonal relationship between Ruth and Harry provides an intriguing subplot.
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Format: Paperback
"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!
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By Heather Pearson TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 2 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The murder of a child, whether it happened yesterday, or two thousand years ago, makes for riveting reading. In this case, Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is called in by the police to investigate a set of children's bones that has been found near the coast. This draws her into a case that DCI Harry Nelson has been pursuing for the past ten years.

Given her connection to the area, it is not surprising that Ruth can't stop wondering and then searching for the truth. She's not a perfect woman, she's made mistakes, is admittedly a bit over weight and fears becoming one of those lonely women who collect a houseful of cats. For me, it makes her a compelling character who I want to know more about. I could hardly put this book down. I felt comfortable with Ruth and her life. I could easily sit down and have tea with her, and then a glass of wine later in the day. Likewise, Harry Nelson is an easy to like character. He knows his limitations and is willing to call in a specialist when needed and then readily accepts her expertise.

The coastal setting of the story is very foreign to me as I live more than a thousand miles inland, but author Elly Griffiths made it come alive. I could imagine the fogs and the heavy mist, and practically smell the salt in the air. She created two very realistic characters in Ruth and Harry that I want to learn more about. Fortunately, their stories continue in the series, and book six, The Outcast Dead is due out March 11, 2014.
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