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The Janus Stone: A Ruth Galloway Mystery [Paperback]

Elly Griffiths
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 19 2011 Ruth Galloway Mysteries
The second novel in the highly praised new mystery series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway, a woman who is very intimate with old bones and big trouble.

The Janus Stone
, the second Ruth Galloway mystery, sees Ruth literally up to her neck in trouble. She's standing in a trench cut into the ground floor of an old Victorian mansion in Norwich once run by the Catholic church as a home for children. Now it is being demolished to make way for a condo development, and because a medieval church was originally on the site, the town council has ordered an archaeological survey before the new buildings go up. And now they won't go up, not until Ruth has finished her investigation, because she's staring at the headless skeleton of a child buried under the imposing front door.


From the Hardcover edition.

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The Janus Stone: A Ruth Galloway Mystery + The Crossing Places: A Ruth Galloway Mystery + The House at Sea's End
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Product Description

Review

Praise for The Crossing Places:
"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 mystery series

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


From the Hardcover edition.

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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By Alison S. Coad TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"The Janus Stone" is the second Ruth Galloway mystery by Elly Griffiths, set in atmospheric and history-rich Norfolk County in England. Ruth, a forensic archeologist, is called to a building site after the bones of a child are found during the demolition of an old building to make way for luxury condos. The site was once a medieval churchyard, possibly a Roman villa before that and in its most recent incarnation, a home for orphan children, which closed in the 1980s. When Ruth finds that the bones are relatively recent, from the 1970s, DCI Harry Nelson becomes involved in the case; they soon discover that the house had been owned by a prominent family, the current generation of which owns the construction company responsible for creating the condo project; which is to say, a family with secrets who have more reason than anyone to deter any investigation into the past. As Ruth learns more, she finds herself the target of bizarre pranks - pranks that might be designed to scare her, or perhaps to kill her.... This second novel in Griffiths' series confirms that it's a series worth reading. Aside from the relationship between Ruth and Nelson, we get a lot of history, a story about a Christian orphanage that does not include abuse (for a welcome change) and a smattering of information about Roman religious practices and mythology. All good fun for this reader; recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Layered Page-Turning Mystery March 5 2010
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: A Victorian home is being pulled down to make way for a luxury apartment building but is stopped due to the finding of Roman remains. As archaeologists work they find a headless skeleton of a child under the doorstep of the home and forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in for her expertise by DCI Harry Nelson. The house was last used as a Catholic children's home and that sends the investigation in a direction that will not easily bring answers. At the same time someone is literally trying to scare Ruth to death and when that doesn't work perhaps they'll have to get up close and personal to finish off the job.

Comments: I love this series! This book is even better the first, The Crossing Places. This was a fast, page-turner that I read very quickly; I just couldn't put it down. Not only are there several possible suspects there are a few possible choices for the identity of the victim! I only just managed to stay a few pages ahead of each reveal but the final solution is one that you could not possibly see coming from the beginning.

Both Ruth and Harry are back the same as we remembered them from book one, only Ruth is less self-conscious but still her same outspoken, hard-headed, overweight, unfashionable self. For me personally, she is a character I could like ( I want to like) only I have great issues with her moral conduct and Harry's as well, though both of their personal lives take new directions and this is being addressed. I am eager to see where they are each headed personally in the next book. Since the personal life is integral in these books I do recommend reading them in order.

I also was quite taken with the Catholic part of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing! July 23 2010
Format:Hardcover
I was looking forward to this book as I enjoyed the first book in this series very much. I found this book did not flow from one scene to the next. It was very choppy as if in the editing a lot of the descriptive passages needed to fill out the story where cut out. For me this book was predictable. The tension I felt in the first book between the main character and the mystery was not here for me.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many Layer Page-Turning Mystery March 5 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.

Summary: A Victorian home is being pulled down to make way for a luxury apartment building but is stopped due to the finding of Roman remains. As archaeologists work they find a headless skeleton of a child under the doorstep of the home and forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is called in for her expertise by DCI Harry Nelson. The house was last used as a Catholic children's home and that sends the investigation in a direction that will not easily bring answers. At the same time someone is literally trying to scare Ruth to death and when that doesn't work perhaps they'll have to get up close and personal to finish off the job.

Comments: I love this series! This book is even better the first, The Crossing Places. This was a fast, page-turner that I read very quickly; I just couldn't put it down. Not only are there several possible suspects there are a few possible choices for the identity of the victim! I only just managed to stay a few pages ahead of each reveal but the final solution is one that you could not possibly see coming from the beginning.

Both Ruth and Harry are back the same as we remembered them from book one, only Ruth is less self-conscious but still her same outspoken, hard-headed, overweight, unfashionable self. For me personally, she is a character I could like ( I want to like) only I have great issues with her moral conduct and Harry's as well, though both of their personal lives take new directions and this is being addressed. I am eager to see where they are each headed personally in the next book. Since the personal life is integral in these books I do recommend reading them in order.

I also was quite taken with the Catholic part of the story. Of course, starting with the investigation into a children's home the usual preconceived prejudices are rampant and several characters are anti-Catholic. But once a retired Sister and Father are introduced as characters the journey of these characters and the Catholic part of the plot which leads to the eventual reconciliation of one of the characters is very satisfying.

Elly Griffiths, pseudonym of Domenica de Rosa, has created a wonderful mystery that is going to appeal to a lot of people. There is plenty of action and forensic detail for thriller fans and yet no gory bits for more cozy mystery fans. The plot has many layers, is quite intricate as it twists and turns upon itself and is a ton of fun to read. I'm glad to have started this series at the beginning and can't wait for the next Ruth Galloway Mystery!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery reading at its best May 14 2012
By polkadot - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this author and have read most of her books ,very good reading. I especially enjoy the descriptions of the area where the crime takes place.
4.0 out of 5 stars Likable, well written Feb. 9 2014
By Linda B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well, I'm reading everything by this author. Read them in order! I like this detective. I like learning things about archaeology. Very enjoyable. The writing style is not angry sophisticated like that of Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell. The protagonist is overweight and almost bumbles into the problems. Very likable characters. Recommended for, say, Ann Cleeves' fans.
4.0 out of 5 stars Necessary for the series Jan. 24 2013
By Constant Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ms. Griffith's US publisher needs to reissue this book or make it available for Kindle at least. It provides important plot/character developments for the series. Lucky you if you are considering reading a Ruth Galloway mystery by Ellie Griffiths. You are in for a treat. Ms. Griffiths has created a terrific series. The kind where your spouse will be hoping in vain that will turn out your light. She has interesting and memorable characters that you care about. The series is best read in order because the lives of the characters evolve from page to page and book to book. They lead complicated lives. These books have love and romance, but unlike many current series, they do not read like a mystery/romance hybrid. (Hurray!)Actions have consequence and life is complicated in realistic ways as opposed to silly misunderstandings. There are two real stories always going on. One is the murder mystery itself and that changes from volume to volume. The other story, perhaps more important, is the story of the "home" characters themselves. In addition, this series benefits from settings that are unusual and described in enough detail that you can see, feel and taste the sea. Another plus is the forensic archeology/anthropology details around the characters and the murders. They provide interest as well as a reason for Ruth to assist with police work. It is not original to Ms. Griffiths, but she does it well. I am not providing any details in this review, because I would not want to spoil it for you. Please keep writing, Ms. Griffiths.
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