38. The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths. (Canada)
A Ruth Galloway Mystery #2

Pages: 335 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: Mar. 2, 2010
First Published: Mar. 2, 2010 CAN (Aug 10, 2010 USA)
Genre: mystery, thriller
Rating: 4.5/5

First sentence:

A light breeze runs through the long grass at the top of the hill.

Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.

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. Nicola, thanks so much for reviewing this book. I am really excited about it and it is winging it's way to me even as I write this. I'm so drawn to mystery series I think because of the character development. I love the puzzle as well, but I want to see how the character grow and change. Glad you liked it.

  2. I totally agree with you Kay! I'm drawn mostly to mystery series where the main character's life is a major plot element running through the books.

  3. Hi Nicola! Sorry I haven't visited much lately. I hope all is well for you. :)

  4. I'll come back and read this when I get my copy from the library. I hope I don't have too long to wait.


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