The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths – review

Published by Quercus

Publication date 2 June 2016 (orginially published 2009)

Source – own copy

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a pre-historic henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.

But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…

Bones that appear to belong to a child have been found on the salt marshes of Norfolk. DCI Harry Nelson calls in archeologist Ruth Galloway to see if his fears that the bones are that of a local girl who vanished ten years ago are confirmed. Whilst these bones are found to be dating from the Iron Age, Nelson is determined not to give up looking for the missing child. He seeks Ruth’s help in deciphering taunting letters sent to him. Then a second child goes missing and Ruth is drawn further into the case, and closer to danger.

The characters help make the story. Nelson and Ruth both clash yet complement each other, he being taciturn to her more gentle yet professional nature. This book very much sets the tone for the series, establishing characters so that the reader will want to read more about them in future novels.

I had figured out who the murderer was from quite early in the novel but this didn’t spoil my enjoyment. It was interesting to see how the clues were laid out and either missed or picked up on by the characters. The blend of archeology and detection was just right, it never felt like Elly Griffiths was trying to information dump on the reader. The history of the location blended well with the modern-day mystery.

The only issue I had with the novel was the repeated references to Ruth’s weight. I understand that the author has to paint the picture of a character so that the reader can easily visualise them in their mind’s eye. However it almost got to the point where Ruth was defined by her size and not her intelligence, skill or knowledge.

The Crossing Places has the air of a Sunday night serial drama about it, and I mean that in a positive way. There was something comfortingly familiar about the novel and the characters, where a fictional world was created that welcomes a regular return.

The good thing about being late to an established series is that there are lots more books to catch up on. I have the feeling I’ll be busy for a little while.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds like an interesting premise for sure, even if you did guess the killer! It says a lot for the book that this didn’t spoil your enjoyment!


    1. janetemson says:

      I had fun waiting for the characters to catch up 🙂


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