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Friday 21 January 2022

‘The Crossing Places’ by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus,
May 2009.
ISBN: 978-184724-726-1(HB)

Dr Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. Ruth lives alone in a remote cottage in a place called Saltmarsh, which is wild and overlooks the North Sea. Ruth is forty, overweight and hides herself under bulky clothes; she shares her home with her two cats Flint and Sparky.

When she is asked by Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson to look at some bones the police have uncovered in the Marsh she dates them from the Iron Age, but DCI Nelson was hoping they were the bones of a five-year -old girl called Lucy who went missing ten years previously.  Although disappointed that the bones found are two thousand years old, DCI Nelson takes her into his confidence and shows her the letters he received at the time of the girl’s disappearance. 

But the bones are of archaeological interest and Ruth wastes no time in contacting her old friend Erik Anderssen who she first met at a dig ten years ago but who has returned to Norway. She had shared an enchanted summer on the Saltmarsh with Erik and his wife Magda, Peter, who she at one time though she was in love, and her friend Shona.

Then a second young girl goes missing and because of her expertise Ruth finds herself drawn into the mystery. Soon it becomes clear that she too is now a target of the unknown killer.

This is a very atmospheric book; I was reading it in summer, yet I could still feel the wind the rain and the isolation of the marshes. There are many threads running through this tale, and slowly and skilfully they are pulled together to show a picture, but not the picture one expects. Highly recommended

Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Elly Griffiths is the author of a series of crime novels set in England’s Norfolk County and featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. The first in the series, The Crossing Places, earned a good deal of praise both in Griffiths’ native country, England, and in the U.S. The Literary Review termed it “a cleverly plotted and extremely interesting first novel, highly recommended.  Since then, Elly has written thirteen further novels featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. Recently she has written a second series set in the 1950’s featuring magician Max Mephisto and DI Stephens. There are six books in the new series. The Midnight Hour is the latest.

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