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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  15,047 Ratings  ·  1,752 Reviews
The Crossing Places Forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is called upon to date a child's bones found in the Norfolk marshes, thought to be the bones of a missing girl about whom the police having been getting strange letters. Then another girl goes missing and Ruth is in danger... Full description
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 5th 2009 by Quercus (first published 2009)
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Jun 16, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: Ellen
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I really enjoyed getting to know Ruth and Nelson. I think I needed something without gore, cussing, psychological darkness. Not that this was light reading by any means. The salt water marsh setting was a major character, and the archeological artifacts and mythic stories added a sense of doom. I've already ordered the next two books in the series!
Richard Derus

Rating: 1.875* of five (p126)

The Book 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 h
Dec 06, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction, kindle

I thought I'd like this novel much more than I did. It's not terrible. Indeed, it has some good features. However, I found it disappointing and predictable overall.

First the good points. The central protagonist, Ruth Galloway, is an academic forensic archeologist. Her occupation has plenty of potential for an absorbing crime fiction series and the narrative contains some interesting discussion about matters archeological. In addition, the location - the salt marshes of Norfolk in the east of En
The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
Despite being a lover of crime fiction I hadn’t heard of this book or author before I was invited to go to the Harrogate Crime Fiction Awards last month. Elly’s book The Crossing Places had been shortlisted along with people like Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham and it was what she said on stage about her book having many layers that piqued my interest. What an acolade to have your book nominated and then shortlisted for such a high profile event as this, and I love that there was two debut author ...more
Mar 18, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
The One Sentence Summary: A forensic archaeologist called in to examine a body found preserved in a salt marsh is drawn into the police investigation for two missing girls abducted ten years apart, and perhaps, into the killer’s crosshairs herself.

The Meat and Potatoes: Ruth Galloway, a short, stout forensic archaeologist living in a cottage on the barren saltmarsh where she was involved in a dig ten years prior, is called to examine a body found only steps from her home. Though the body is from
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths.

Ruth Galloway is not your usual conforming female. She's approaching 40 years old without having married or having any children. She is a forensic archaeologist employed as a professor at the local university outside of the London area. The local she chooses to call home is in quite a desolate place that some might consider gloomy. All in all Ruth Galloway is an independent woman who thinks for herself.
Ruth has a few friends (or so she thinks) that are also
First Sentence: They wait for the tide and set out at first light.

Archaeologist Ruth Galloway is a single, overweight woman who lives with her two cats on the edge of the Saltmarsh. DCI Harry Nelson asks for her help when human bones are found on a nearby beach. Nelson is haunted by the case of Lucy Downey, a young girl who disappeared ten years ago. A second child now disappears. Nelson believes the two cases are linked.

It is always a treat to start a book by an author I’d not previously read a
While there was a certain amount of predictability in this novel, the ride was fun and the journey wasn't hard work, so all in all, I can say I enjoyed it immensely. :)
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 04, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those without something better at hand
Once an author had a thought: If I set a section of this novel in present tense, it will make a contrast with the rest of the novel and the main narrator. It will breathe some immediacy into that segment and, along with italics, will really distinguish one section from another, one narrator from another.

As with most innovation, lesser lights immediately fell upon it. If a section is good, wouldn’t the entire novel be even better? And won’t the present tense bestow a sense of immediacy and a fri
The only reason that I'm not kicking myself for having not started to read this series before now is that I am experiencing the thrill of a newly discovered favorite series. Nothing is sweeter in reading than that first kiss of what you know is going to be a special reading adventure. Elly Griffiths has been on my reading radar for ages, and thanks to her appearance at the upcoming Bouchercon Mystery Convention, I am finally beginning the Ruth Galloway series.

Ruth Galloway is an archaeologist l
Dr. Ruth Galloway is approached by the police for her assistance when a grave is uncovered out in the salt marsh near her home. Dr. Galloway is an archaeologist whose specialty is identifying old bones. She identifies the bones as being from the Iron Age and therefore not the body of Lucy Downey, a girl who went missing nearly ten years ago. She is asked by Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, to review a packet of letters that had been sent to him over a period of ten years that contain a lo ...more
Erin Hart
Feb 03, 2010 Erin Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Against the eerie backdrop of the Saltmarsh—a dangerous, desolate stretch of coastline that’s not quite earth, not quite sea—forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway stirs up fears and passions among the living even as she unearths ancient remains.

Although she’ll admit to being a walking cliché—she’s an overweight, unmarried, cat-loving academic—Ruth Galloway actually defies such slender classification. She’s an uncommon heroine whose acute insight, wry humor, and depth of feeling make her a thoroug
Dec 24, 2016 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge
I've been wanting to make a start on this series for a couple of years, so I was glad to have the opportunity to slot this #1 instalment into one of my reading challenges.

A reasonably fast-paced mystery/crime/thriller, the things I liked most about this book were the two main characters - Dr Ruth Galloway and DCI Hary Nelson - and the desolate Norfolk location.

What I didn't like so much was the extremely flimsy pretext upon which Ruth, an archaeologist, was drawn into the investigation of the c
Aug 08, 2009 SusannaW rated it did not like it
There is no way this is 5 star work, as indicated by the previous posters on this page. I was totally mislead by this.

A University lecturer in archeology finds herself drawn into a murder case when some bones are discovered on the Norfolk coast. Another child goes missing, and the heroine becomes in danger herself as she starts receiving threatening messages.

Not a bad plot line, but it is, to cut to the chase, one of the most simplistic 'crime' novels I have read. While the hermeneutic intrigue

When a child's bones are discovered in the saltmarsh at Norfolk, along the coast of England, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson asks Dr. Ruth Galloway - an archaeologist at a local university - to help excavate the remains. Ruth discovers that the skeleton, which was interred with two Iron Age torques (metal necklaces), is 2,000 years old. Ruth is thrilled with the find but Nelson is disappointed. He thought the bones might belong to Lucy Downey, a five-year-old child who disappeared a decad
Oct 13, 2016 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I admit that I entered into the reading of this book with certain false assumptions. An archaeologist that solves murders, conjured up images of Lara Croft and Harrison Ford. It's ok that I was wrong about that, those genres are often overrated anyway. But the pace of the book and the plot did not match the sense of adventure I was hoping for. The story was somewhat predictable and the supporting characters seemed two dimensional. I was happy to finish and was interested enough to want to keep r ...more
This is the first in a series by Elly Griffiths which features Ruth Galloway,
a forensic archaelogist who lives alone with her two cats in an isolated cottage on Norfolk's Saltmarsh coast.
Ruth is ascerbic, solitary and strangely loveable. She works as the Head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk.
Thirty-something and a bit overweight, she does not have much of a social life, nor does she want one. However, she is drawn to DCI Harry Nelson, the police inspector who was instru
May 22, 2014 Melissa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ladies-writin
Still on the hunt for my Caddie Maddox substitute. Ruth Galloway seems like a nice lady & all but my attention wandered too much while reading this. I feel like there's a touch of promise for this series, especially because the setting is exquisite, but since the killer reveal was quite obvious to me about 80 pages in, there's definitely some fine-tuning needed.
Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
5 Words: History, belief, captive, crime, mystery.

I loved the narrator, but I thought the story was a bit jumpy, it didn't really flow well. I will most likely try the next book, just to see, because I do love books that blend history and crime.

Full review to come.
The Crossing Places was an incredibly quick and easy read. The first in a series of mystery/thriller novels based around the character of forensic archaelogist Dr Ruth Galloway, this book begins with the disappearance of a child on the gloomy Norfolk coast, a case which seems to mirror that of a still-missing girl from ten years before. When a body is dug up, police suspect it's the first girl, but it turns out to be an Iron Age sacrifice, preserved by the peat. This finding brings Ruth into the ...more
I enjoyed the suspense, enjoyed the twist and turn of the plot, the relationships of every characters, and the writing style. A lot. The narration by Jane McDowell is top of the line, and the tone (after a while) grows on me; it fits the landscape and characters portrayed. Will definitely continue the series by Elly Griffiths.
Jan 31, 2017 Manda rated it really liked it
3.5 stars :-)
Mar 02, 2014 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first novel featuring Doctor Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist at the University of Norfolk. Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson has been searching for ten years for Lucy Downey, who went missing at the age of five – snatched from her bedroom. When human bones are found on the saltmarsh of the Norfolk coast, he asks Ruth to come and examine the body; hoping that he has found the body of the missing girl and that he will be able to bring her parents some peace of mind at last ...more
Jan 17, 2010 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Crossing Places is a true who-done-it. It is full or red herrings, wrong turns, dead ends, and not till the very last do you discover who actually has done these, truly ghastly deeds.

The fact that it is set on the saltmarsh between "land and sky" makes the setting already one of tension and fear, not hard to smell and understand. In fact, our heroine, who seems to think of herself as the fattest human on the planet, nearly drowns in the saltmarsh when the tide comes in and catches her.

Rachel Hall
Apr 12, 2016 Rachel Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I came to The Crossing Places as a reluctant reader, quite simply being narrow minded enough to presume a novel featuring a forensic archaeologist would be a little mundane; that the premise mentioned a pre-historic henge and ritual sacrifice did nothing to entice me further. I was also concerned that the technical archaeology content would go over my head but Elly Griffiths is a perfect tutor, delivering bite sized nuggets of archaeology information and enough to leave her readers feeling fully ...more
Jun 07, 2017 Ingrid rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Predictable and mediocre. I hope she will get better with each book.
For a long time I debated whether or not to pick up the Ruth Galloway books. They seemed interesting, and yet I wasn’t compelled to read it in the way I have been by other books in the genre. It was one of those ‘maybe I will get around to it someday’ books. I would probably read it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get my hands on it. Due to this, it wasn’t until I found a copy shoved at the back of a shelf in Poundland that I decided to grab it. After all, who says no to a book in Poundland, ...more
Jul 02, 2016 lizzie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Five star.....

The Crossing Places - The first book in the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries.
Also the first book I have read by author Elly Griffiths.
I am very happy that I stumbled across this book and this fantastic author.

Dr Ruth Galloway is an immediately likable leading lady. I felt a bond with her from the beginning, and she continued to grow and impress me.
Harry Nelson, our leading guy and police officer is also very likable, albeit a completely different character to Ruth.

The story is set in
Jul 30, 2011 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sue Drees
Higher Learning Meets Street Smarts

I loved the atmosphere in this book. It was set in Norwich which is on the central eastern coast of Britain. There’s a sacred site that was created by Iron Age people which consists of a wooden circle near the salt marsh overlooking the sea and a long promenade leading inland. Modern folks have built their houses without regard or maybe even awareness of the site so it’s not too surprising when Iron Age and modern civilizations encroach on one another. Bodies,
Suzanne Ross
I love a good UK mystery suspense novel, so when I came across a review for The Janus Stone, I thought it best to start with The Crossing Places. I was able to get right into the scene and the characters from the get-go. I wasn't at all bothered by the fact that it was written in present tense, and in fact, didn't pick up on it until I read through some other reviews. I loved the straightforward personality of Ruth. She was very human, easy to relate to, despite the fact that I have little in co ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • The Merchant's House (Wesley Peterson, #1)
  • Sacrifice
  • Red Bones (Shetland Island, #3)
  • Where Memories Lie (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #12)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden, #1)
  • The Risk of Darkness (Simon Serrailler, #3)
  • Cold in the Earth (DI Marjory Fleming #1)
  • Cambridge Blue (DC Gary Goodhew Mystery #1)
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)
Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly's husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece's head with the myths and legends of that area. Elly has two children and lives near Brighton. Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places is her first crime novel.

More about Elly Griffiths...

Other Books in the Series

Ruth Galloway (10 books)
  • The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway, #2)
  • The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway, #3)
  • A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway, #4)
  • A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway, #5)
  • The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway, #6)
  • The Ghost Fields (Ruth Galloway, #7)
  • The Woman in Blue (Ruth Galloway, #8)
  • The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway, #9)
  • The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway, #10)

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“When she bought the cats her mother asked her straight out if they were 'baby substitutes'. 'No,' Ruth had answered, straight-faced. 'They're kittens. If I had a baby it would be a cat substitute.” 17 likes
“Peter is suffering from an attack of nostalgia, she knows the symptoms. She mustn't join in otherwise she'll be swept away too, drowning in a quicksand of the past.” 0 likes
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