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The Crossing Places

(Ruth Galloway #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  28,848 ratings  ·  3,231 reviews
Forensic archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties and lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants—not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published February 5th 2009)
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Tytti Well, at the moment this particular book has over 17,400 ratings and almost 2000 reviews, so I would imagine some of them have read at least one of he…moreWell, at the moment this particular book has over 17,400 ratings and almost 2000 reviews, so I would imagine some of them have read at least one of her books, maybe even several.(less)
Michael There is no gore. There's sex but it's handled delicately, certainly nothing graphic. I don't recall foul language other than what might seem normal f…moreThere is no gore. There's sex but it's handled delicately, certainly nothing graphic. I don't recall foul language other than what might seem normal for a rural English policeman. Some bad things happen to children (and animals), so that might be a trigger issue, but it's not described graphically either. (less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is a 2010 publication.

So many of my GR friends read the Ruth Galloway series, making me wildly curious about it for a long time. I went in blind, however, not really knowing what the premise was, and I'm glad I did. While this first book has some issues, I understand now why the series is so popular.

Ruth is a forensic archaeologist in her late thirties. She is unmarried and lives with her two cats. However, her quiet, orderly, slightly dull life is rudely
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Louise Penny's fans
Shelves: mystery
‘The human desire is to live, to cheat death, to live forever. It is the same over all the ages. It is why we build monuments to death so that they live on after we die.’

I've recently tried a few other mystery series but I either abandoned them after the 1 st volume or did not even finish it. I read quite a few positive reviews about Ruth Galloway series and after another one of those I decided to finally give this one a go. So glad I did.

Ruth Galloway is an almost 40 years old, plump archaeolo
Richard Derus
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was ok

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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know that this book had mixed reviews when it was published but the audiobook was wonderful! The narrator got all of the accents right on and by her rendering of the novel I could absolutely picture the salt marshes, the wind, the mud and smell the salt in the air. What an incredible place these marshes are and I didn't know anything about them.

The characters I found to be interesting. Ruth Galloway is a forensic archeologist who lives at the edge of the marshes because she loves the solitude.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it

Earlier this year, I read The Stone Circle, the 11th in the series. Now, I’ve finally had time to go back and start at the beginning.

I’ve got to give credit to Elly Griffiths. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I felt I had such a complete feel for a main character in such a short period of time. She truly gives you a fully formed main character in the first few chapters. And Ruth is a great character! Almost forty, single, living on the edge of the salt marsh with her cats; she’s an ar
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
I very much enjoyed Elly Griffiths' writing in The Stranger Diaries which made me seek out this book, the first in her series about Ruth Galloway. I found it to be a very promising start.

Ruth is a very interesting character, someone who likes to be alone and considers herself over weight and not especially attractive and yet she seems to have a lot of friends and several men who appear to be interested in her. DCI Harry Nelson is one of these men and it will be interesting to see how things turn
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
This series was recommended to me and I was drawn into it from the first page. The elements of archeology,mystery, mythology, folklore, atmosphere were so real. All of these filled the book right from the start. I liked that the author told us the story through Ruth the archaeologist helping the police in their enquiries because of her knowledge of both the area and the pre-historic nature of the henge. By the end of the book I felt I knew her as a good friend and a good person. I loved the litt ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Crossing Places was written by Elly Griffiths (pseudonym). Many believe that this was her debut novel, however, she published The Italian Quarter, under her real name Domenica de Rosa, in 2004. The author got her idea for the book while on holiday in Norfolk, United Kingdom with her archaeologist husband. They were walking on Titchwell Marsh, and nature reserve.

The Crossing Places, a mystery, is about a forensic archaeologist, Dr. Ruth Galloway, who is called in to examine human remains (bo
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
This was a very solid start to the series.

Griffiths gives Ruth both a complete world and persona, without too much info dumping.

I became absolutely absorbed in her story & wanted to find out what happened to the two missing girls.

Some of the writing really captures the feelings of those involved;

"What I'm afraid of," says Delilah suddenly in a high, strained voice, "is that one day someone asks me how many children I have and I say four, not five. Because than I'll know that it's over, that
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it

In this first book in the 'Ruth Galloway' series, the archaeologist helps the police investigate cases that involve missing children.


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.

Iron Age Torque

Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan and Laura
Thank you to goodreads friends Lisa and Laura for bringing this series to my attention. Ironically this series that my US friends discovered is set not far from me and half way through the book I realised the cover shows Horsey Windpump, a National Trust place we visited a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to read about this setting as it is an amazing area, although the author has said the setting is fictional, those who know the area will recognise it well.

I haven't read many mystery boo
Jan 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having previously read Griffiths other series based in 1950's Brighton, I've always been curious to try her more popular character Dr Ruth Galloway.
This introductory story didn't disappoint and I'm now desperate to read all of these too.

Dr Galloway is such a loveable character to spend time with, this rapidly approaching 40 year old enjoys spending time with both her cats and either a good book or Radio 4.
In a way she's of a bygone time that really seems to fit the setting, as she's slightly out
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
Lisa Vegan
Thanks to Goodreads friend Laura (of the 3 Lauras, the artist Laura) for suggesting this. I’d been having a hard time finding a book that held my interest long enough to keep reading. I didn’t think I was in the mood for a mystery but this one was the right book at the right time. It’s the book that ended what felt like my long reading slump. It wasn’t really that long but I had tried several books before this one worked.

I guessed the culprit fairly early on but I wasn’t sure and there were ple
Mar 24, 2020 added it
Shelves: mysteries, series
The Hook In my role as Adult Services Librarian I often recommended books to others. Had I read each and every one of these? Of course not yet. In reality I hadn't read any but knew I had patrons that would enjoy them. There were always certain books that I knew would appeal to me as well as those I suggested to those I served. One was The Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths. When I heard that book 12, The Lantern Men, was being released I thought it's now or never.

The Line - ”Why do we feel
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 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent start to Griffiths' series featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway who lives on the lonely and remote Norfolk salt marshes. Her specialty is bones so when a child's bones are found on the marsh, Ruth is called in by DCI Harry Nelson to date the bones. Nelson is hoping the bones are those of a missing girl who disappeared ten years ago as he would love to solve the case for her parents. However, the bones are much older and Ruth thinks they may be linked to an Iron age ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Nov 04, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 18, 2012 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
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. :)
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rounded down from 3.5..I didn't guess who the murderer was, in fact, I was suspicious of everyone! The motive of crimes was not strong but the characters are realistic and I look forward to reading about them again in the next volume!
Erin Hart
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Alan Cotterell
Jul 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ib, read-2020
Full review to follow shortly
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
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
The prickly archeologist Ruth Galloway is called upon to investigate human bones discovered in the Saltmarsh of Norfolk by DCI Harry Nelson. While those bones prove to be from the Iron Age, she gets pulled into a missing child case where someone (the perpetrator?) is sending mocking letters to the authorities that reference Iron Age mythologies. Enjoy!
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 disappea
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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.

Other books in the series

Ruth Galloway (1 - 10 of 12 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)
  • The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)

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