Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Crossing Places - Review

The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway Mysteries #1) by Elly Griffiths
Rating:Very Good
Source: Library
Description:  When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants - not quite earth, not quite sea.
When a child's bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help.  Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago.  Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.
The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mid of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers.  Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to finder her.
As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory - and in serious danger.  The Crossing Places marks the beginning of a captivating new crimes series featuring an irresistible heroine.  (from Goodreads)

Genre: Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  This series has been on my TBR for quite some time as I'm fascinated with the archaeology angle and I know several people who love the series.

My Impression:  I've been wanting to read this series for quite sometime.  So much so that I was a little worried when I started because what if my expectations were too high?  What if I didn't like it?  But of course my concerns were needless.  Right away we meet Dr. Ruth Galloway who is waking up in her little house on the edge of the Saltmarsh and not super thrilled about it.  I liked her right away.  She is kind of grumpy and a bit prickly but never so much so that she irritated me.  She's intelligent and knowledgeable and really mostly wants to be left alone but still periodically feels the need for companionship.  She is able to truly analyze a problem and face solutions that she really doesn't want to be true.  We meet the other characters through her eyes so in this first book we don't exactly know how DCI Nelson works or what he thinks and feels.  We just know what he tells Ruth or what Ruth observes which had me wanting to know more but in the best of ways as I'm very much looking forward to getting to know him better in future books.

The mystery was fascinating and I loved how the archaeological information was woven in with the very modern mystery.  While I did figure out what had happened there was a lot I didn't figure out until it was revealed.  The pacing had me wanting to keep going and "one more chapter" usually became more like 5 or 10!  This is definitely not a cozy and the victims in the book are children.  There is also something that happens to an animal about a third of the way into the book.  Both of these events usually upset me but it worked in this book.  There aren't graphic descriptions and there's a detached quality that kept me from getting really caught up in the darkness.

I had two minor issues with the book.  The primary one was that I wanted more archaeology - especially in regards to the Iron Age girl discovered.  I'm hoping that this is something that improves with each book and it's one of the things that interests me most about the series.  I also don't love that the writing is in present tense but I did get used to it after awhile.  Regardless of these 2 minor quibbles I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to seeing where the series goes.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely!  I'm looking forward to the 2nd Ruth Galloway mystery

Would I Recommend this Book?:  Yes!  I think most mystery readers would really enjoy this.  While some of the topics are darker I think it's written in such a way that almost all readers would have no problems.


  1. Ruth sounds like a super fun characters. I do really like what a character is a bit grumpy at times. And hopefully there will be more archaeology in the future books. Any YAY for tackling that TBR.

  2. Ooh two thousand tear old bones and a mysterious saltmarsh setting- those both sound like winners! I can see where the darker elements might give one pause, so glad to hear it's not overdone or too graphic. This does sound good! And I like the sound of the landscape playing a role.

  3. Yay, glad this was a winner. I do love archaeology.

  4. I'm glad you liked this one, Katherine. I know it's a well liked series by many of my mystery reading fans. It's a series I hope to try one of these days. The archaeology aspect appeals to me as well. And Ruth sounds like an interesting character, one I might be able to relate to.

  5. It must take a special skill to write something nasty that happens but without too much detail. That would put me off a book. Sounds great.

  6. I enjoyed this mystery, but like you, I wanted just a little more of the archaeology. :)

  7. I'm glad you liked this offering - I thought it was a very strong start to a popular series. Thank you for the review.

  8. A few months ago, I read this one, too, and loved the character Ruth Galloway. Watching her start her day, experiencing what she does at home and at all made me feel as if I knew her, which was good, since the subject matter of the book could have been too harsh otherwise.

    I'm eager to read the second book, too. Thanks for sharing.

  9. This sounds like my type of book. I love how dark and cold it sounds and I'm with you on the archaeological aspect...i enjoy this in books too. I'll be keeping my eye of for this one.

  10. Ohh great review I also love books that have archeology in it and this one looks and sounds absolutely fantastic and right up my alley. Thank you for your awesome post.

  11. I love this series and I have only read the first two books! I already have the 3rd book ready on my kindle though. Great review!