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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway #1)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  9,266 ratings  ·  1,193 reviews
A captivating crime series by British mystery writer Elly Griffiths, featuring an irresistibly quirky heroine in Ruth Galloway

When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, 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.
ebook, 320 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Mariner Books (first published 2009)
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways

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

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 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
Ivonne Rovira
Sep 12, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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. :)
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
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.
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
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
Erin Hart
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
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.

Aug 14, 2011 Cynthia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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,
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
John Wiltshire
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
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
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
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
Jeanette (jema)
I don't usually pick up crime novels but I think I got this at a garagesale for 1 sek. It is one of those crime stories with a middle aged and single woman as main character. Ruth is like a cross between Havers and a less clever Tempe Brennan. She is archaeologist and gets to help the police in a case of two missing children.
I did enjoy reading about the landscape, her little cottage, the cats etc. The crime I solved about halfway in and then speed-read the finish.
This was such an easy read. The characters were a little simplistic and stereotypical, but I didn't mind that because the story flowed well and at a good pace, and the mystery was interesting.
I'm not so sure about the ending, but I am interested enough to read the next one in the series.
3.5 stars
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...
Starts off slowly as a character study of Dr. Ruth Galloway, a middle-aged single woman who lives out on the edge of a desolate marshland and is an archeologist and professor at a local university. She is asked to help the police with a child abduction when they find bones out in the marsh and need their age identified. Suddenly her own life may be in danger. The middle to end of the book is intense and a real whodunit, which kept me guessing until the end. Highly recommended for: fans of crime ...more
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is book one in the Ruth Galloway series. Galloway is an archaeologist whose is called in to help out in a child abduction case when the bones of a child are found at an ancient and religious site.

"... Suddenly, everything is quiet; even the seabirds stop their mad skirling and calling above. Or maybe they are still there and she just doesn't hear them. In the background she can hear Nelson breathing hard but Ruth herself feels strangely calm. Even when she s
This is a great murder mystery. The plot isn't cluttered by frivolous details or characters. The plot is very cleverly written, drawing lines between ancient archeology finds and modern day trials. I really enjoyed this part of the book, as the parallels between modern foibles and ancient practices help drive the story along. The main characters are also flawed. While in a mystery it is expected to have psychos on the loose, the characters here aren't perfect, either. The sense of place in the s ...more
I very much enjoyed the archeological aspect of identifying old versus new bones found while investigations go on in two missing children cases. At this Henge site, the customs of Druids and Norse and other anthropological aspects play an important role in separating the ancient from the modern.

There are also plenty of references to current British culture, which reinforces the recent banter that I, an American, have exchanged with friends across the pond; Cookies versus Biscuits kind of thing.
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
Like its sequel, "The Janus Stone", this is an excellent mystery, well-plotted and with a vivid setting and intriguing characters. It also shares the sequel's weaknesses - it's difficult to write a long narrative in present tense, first person, and Griffiths does it as well as anyone, but cannot help but lapse in a few places. It's not a point of view I'm comfortable with; I find it distancing and distracting. It says a lot for the quality of Griffith's writing that I admire her books, anyway.

Jan 24, 2012 Lee rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lee by: Cathleen from C.R.
I was immediately drawn in by the no nonsense writing style. The female protagonist is an archaeology professor at a small university who specializes in bones. Her male counterpart is a gruff police detective who finds himself surprisingly intrigued after requesting her assistance in identifying a skeleton found buried in the marshes. As I read, I kept thinking the story must be set at least 20 or 30 years earlier because even with occasional references to cell phones, texting, and Google search ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Sacrifice
  • Red Bones (Shetland, #3)
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)
  • The Merchant's House (Wesley Peterson, #1)
  • No Mark Upon Her (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #14)
  • River of Darkness (John Madden, #1)
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
  • Cambridge Blue (DC Gary Goodhew Mystery #1)
  • Dead Scared (Lacey Flint, #2)
  • Legacy of the Dead (Inspector Ian Rutledge, #4)
  • The Return of Captain John Emmett
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 (8 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
The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway #2) The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway, #3) A Dying Fall (Ruth Galloway #5) A Room Full of Bones (Ruth Galloway #4) The Outcast Dead (Ruth Galloway #6)

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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.” 6 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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