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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,337 Ratings  ·  1,398 Reviews
The first entry in the acclaimed Ruth Galloway series follows the "captivating"* archaeologist as she investigates a child's bones found on a nearby beach, thought to be the remains of a little girl who went missing ten years before.

Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfol
Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Mariner Books (first published 2009)
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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
May 17, 2016 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!
Mar 01, 2013 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
Apr 15, 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
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
Ivonne Rovira
Sep 12, 2014 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
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. :)
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
Nov 20, 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.
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
Sep 28, 2009 SusannaW rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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.
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
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.

Mar 09, 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
Aug 14, 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,
John Wiltshire
Aug 17, 2015 John Wiltshire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best beginnings to a novel I've read in ages. I was reluctant to get into this series because it featured yet another female main character, and that's not my preference. However, Dr Ruth Galloway is a wonderful creation. At last we have a woman who isn't just a man by any other name. Ruth seems to me to be an entirely authentic female presence, and I'm intrigued and slightly captivated by her.
Living alone in an isolated fens cottage, a forensic archaeologist teaching at a ne
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
Lynn Spencer
Jan 15, 2016 Lynn Spencer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
3.5 stars, probably a B- for me. This is an interesting read, both for the mystery and for the world Griffiths creates. Her heroine, Ruth Galloway, is a lecturer in archaeology at the University of North Norfolk. As we are reminded several times throughout the text, Ruth is single, overweight, and in her late 30s. She lives with her two cats in an isolated cottage near marshland that was sacred to people living there during the Iron Age.

Ruth's world gets upended when the police call her in to ex
Mar 06, 2014 Leslie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, british
Good mystery and I liked the archeological slant and Ruth's character. However I knocked off one star for the writing style - I didn't care for the narrative being in the present tense. I don't know why this should bother me as much as it did, but I was bothered...
Mar 18, 2012 Marianne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having just read several reviews of this on Amazon (while checking prices to buy copies of all her books for my Mom) I feel compelled to put in my 2 cents worth. People tend to miss the importance of the changes necessary to move a character from one place to another -- in terms of age, or career, or lifestyle, and claim too much emphasis on romance, or a soap opera quality to the books (not just Griffiths', but all mysteries). You gotta know your characters or what they do in the stories makes ...more
Vicky (Books, Biscuits, and Tea)
Elly Griffiths' books have been on my wishlist for a while but, as much as it pains me to say this, after reading The Crossing Places I’m not sure if I will read them after all. The book sounded great but, even though there were some elements in the story which I really liked, I was quite disappointed with it by the end.

Firstly, it is written in third person singular and the present tense which really bothered me. There are books where this combination works but here it didn’t – or at least it d
Lizzie Hayes
Aug 31, 2012 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Crossing Places’ by Elly Griffiths
Published by Quercus May 2009. ISBN: 978-184724-726-1

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 they have uncovered in the Marsh sh
Sep 08, 2012 Mariah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book in the series, but unfortunately I read this book third, so I had spoiled some of the sequence of events for myself. Despite this, it was helpful to fill in some of the gaps. Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, is called in to investigate when a small child's skeleton is unearthed in a salt marsh. The police are trying to determine if the body is a girl who has been missing for ten years. Added pressure comes when another small child goes missing and they are trying ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimepieces
Dr Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist at a Norfolk university where she specialises in ancient bones. In her late thirties and slightly overweight she lives with her two cats, Sparky and Flint, in a remote cottage overlooking a salt marsh.

When a child’s bones are found buried on the marsh, DCI Harry Nelson asks Ruth to take a look and she confirms that they are iron age relics left possibly following an ancient ritual. The marsh was a sacred place for iron age inhabitants and Lucy was inv
Perhaps 4.5 stars. I'm really glad I saw notice of this book somewhere. I'm also glad that I lived in England for five years: it helped me understand some of the slang and writing.
I will definitely look for the next book in this series; I liked Ruth (the academic loner) and Nelson (the loner policeman) as they first meet over bones that may be recent of ancient.

Jan 14, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Easy to read and once I picked it up I didn't want to put it down! Will definitely be reading more of this author!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • The Merchant's House (Wesley Peterson, #1)
  • Red Bones (Shetland Island, #3)
  • The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)
  • Sacrifice
  • Cold in the Earth (DI Marjory Fleming #1)
  • Cambridge Blue (DC Gary Goodhew Mystery #1)
  • The Last Kashmiri Rose (Joe Sandilands, #1)
  • No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)
  • Killed at the Whim of a Hat (Jimm Juree #1)
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
  • Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #4)
  • The Marx Sisters (Brock & Kolla, #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 (9 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)

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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.” 8 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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