The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (Book Review)

the crossing places

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 sees it, the tiny arm still wearing the christening bracelet, even then she feels nothing…”

Lucy Downey went missing ten years ago and Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson believes the bones of a child found on a desolate beach near the Saltmarsh in Norfolk may be hers. Ruth Galloway, an archaeologist who lives on the Saltmarsh is asked to help. Nelson has also been receiving bizarre letters from someone concerning the missing child. Letters of pagan rituals and biblical references. Letters that seem to lead to another missing girl.

“..’Do you have children?’ Delilah asks Ruth.
‘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 then I’ll know that it’s over, that she’s dead…”

The Crossing Places is a well written novel of forensic archaeology and how the actions of the past, recent or ancient can effect what is going on today. It is also a tale of divided opinions. Of conservative law and order and the idealism of liberal professors and how they clash. How one educated man can place his own sense of injustice over the recovery of a missing child.

A terrific mystery and Ruth Galloway is refreshing as the heroine. A young introspective woman. Well educated but with serious body issues and family drama. Think Temperance Brennan of Bones fame but fifty pounds of so heavier and with issues speaking up.

A terrific start to the series.


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