99. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (aka Domenica de Rosa)
A Ruth Galloway Mystery, Book 1

Pages: 301
Ages: 18+
Finished: May 22, 2009
First Published: Feb. 5 '09 UK (Apr. 28, 2009 CAN)(Jan 5, 2010 US)
Genre: mystery
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

They wait for the tide and set out at first light.

Reason for Reading: Whenever I am reading the summary of a mystery/crime novel and the word forensic is used to describe the main character's job, you've got me at the word. Ruth Galloway is described as a forensic archaeologist and I knew at that point I would be reading the book. I received a review copy from Random House Canada.

Comments: Ruth Galloway is a year off her 40th birthday, very overweight, not in a relationship and has two cats which everyone assumes are baby substitutes. She gets angry at herself for her occasional bouts of maudlin "what-ifs" because most of the time she is quite happy with her life if others would just stop pestering her. Ten years ago a little girl went missing and Ruth is called in to examine some bones found in the Norfolk salt marshes to determine if they are recent or ancient. The bones turn out to be ancient but strangely enough more ancient bones are found in the town and then another little girl goes missing. Ruth hooks up with the local DCI to assist in identifying bones and artifacts as the killer appears to be leaving letters filled with ancient mythology and archaeological facts that just may be clues pointing to the whereabouts of the missing girls' bodies.

Written by an already established British author, Domenica de Rosa who writes fiction set mostly in Italy, who has taken on the pseudonym of Elly Griffiths to write this mystery series. It was a quick read, fast-paced and a page-turner. I really enjoyed the setting. The marshes were fascinating as well as a creepy place to have mysterious goings on. There are a number of possible suspects who make it difficult to quickly solve whodunit though I did guess well before the reveal at the end. Ruth is quite the character, very outspoken, hard headed, determined and not interested in fashion at all and yet underneath she is somewhat, though not overly, self-conscious of her weight and bedraggled appearance while longing for something in her life, but is not sure whether that be romantic or maternal.

I enjoyed the book very much. It was a great mystery, with a clever plot. There were some elements to the main characters I could have done without from my conservative point of view, but then that's just me. I'll still be looking forward to Ruth's next mystery and seeing which of the characters return as regulars.


  1. Sounds like a good book!

    I gave you an award. Stop by my blog to check it out http://socratesbookreviews.blogspot.com/

  2. This sounds interesting - I hadn't heard of this series (or the author under the other name) before. Have you read Aaron Elkins' Gideon Oliver books? The detective is a forensic anthropologist, and it's one of my favorite series. Lots of interesting old bones and clues from skeletons, etc.

  3. Yvonne - Me? An award? I'm on my way to check it out!

    Darla - Yes I have heard of the Gideon Oliver books, thanks to you actually! LOL One of your reviews made me put them on my list and I'm hoping to get around to them one day, but it's a big series and I'm going to try and finish some series before I take on any new long ones.... Oh, like that's ever going to happen. As soon as I have one around here I'll be trying them out. I think I need to find out who the publisher is and get an arc of the next book! Seems to be the only way I get anything read these days LOL

    I do have plans for 2010 to slow down on the arcs though, but this year I'm rolling in the arcs and having fun.

  4. Baby substitutes? Well that's an interesting way to think of animals. Sure we love them and many are treated like humans but I don't think they're as demanding as actual children are. Glad you enjoyed your mystery!

  5. Thanks for pointing me at your review, Nicola! I know what you mean about elements you could have done without, I think I could have too. And that 'reveal' at the end brought me up sharp too, lol. I just put the second book on reserve at the library - I'm guessing it'll be a while before I get it but at least I'm in line.


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