Customer Reviews for

The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Easy to solve but easy to like

While it was fairly easy to identify the killer in The Crossing Places, this was still an enjoyable read. Ruth Galloway, the archeologist accidental detective, and Det Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, the policeman she helps out, are a well-matched pair, each a bit prickl...
While it was fairly easy to identify the killer in The Crossing Places, this was still an enjoyable read. Ruth Galloway, the archeologist accidental detective, and Det Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, the policeman she helps out, are a well-matched pair, each a bit prickly and a bit vulnerable. Elly Griffiths spends time developing their characters without letting this get in the way of the mystery, and Ruth's line of work allows Griffiths to pull in characters whose interests and areas of expertise add to the layers of this novel. She also does a nice job of conveying a sense of the Saltmarsh, where Ruth lives in a small cottage, sometimes uncomfortably close to the elements. If you're looking for an impossible to solve mystery, this is not the novel for you, but if you're looking for something a bit less cozy than Miss Marple but with a main character who shares Miss Marple's backbone and her ability to notice the small details that make all the difference, this might be a good book for you to curl up with.

posted by 3200935 on March 16, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

First in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway, a feisty for

First in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway, a feisty forensic archeologist/teacher who lives on the edge of the marshlands near Norfolk, England.  In ancient mythology, this marshland was sacred because it was a mixture of land and sea. At one time, it was a lan...
First in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway, a feisty forensic archeologist/teacher who lives on the edge of the marshlands near Norfolk, England.  In ancient mythology, this marshland was sacred because it was a mixture of land and sea. At one time, it was a land mass connecting present day England and Scandinavia. Ancient people's considered it to be sacred, a connection between earth and the afterlife.

The book begins when  a young child goes missing and DCI Harry Nelson fears a connection to a similar missing child from ten years ago. Then the police find child's bones in the marshlands and  Nelson calls on Galloway to determine the age of these bones. Though these turn out to be ancient bones, Nelson and Galloway pair up to try and fine the two present day children because of letters Nelson has been receiving referring to ancient legends and tantalizing references to the first lost child.

Ancient mythology and present day terrors form an intriguing mystery that drives these two characters further and further into dangerous situations.  A deft combination of forensic archeology and present day murder mystery makes this a most compelling read for historical and mystery fans alike.

posted by RonnaL on September 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2010

    Easy to solve but easy to like

    While it was fairly easy to identify the killer in The Crossing Places, this was still an enjoyable read. Ruth Galloway, the archeologist accidental detective, and Det Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, the policeman she helps out, are a well-matched pair, each a bit prickly and a bit vulnerable. Elly Griffiths spends time developing their characters without letting this get in the way of the mystery, and Ruth's line of work allows Griffiths to pull in characters whose interests and areas of expertise add to the layers of this novel. She also does a nice job of conveying a sense of the Saltmarsh, where Ruth lives in a small cottage, sometimes uncomfortably close to the elements. If you're looking for an impossible to solve mystery, this is not the novel for you, but if you're looking for something a bit less cozy than Miss Marple but with a main character who shares Miss Marple's backbone and her ability to notice the small details that make all the difference, this might be a good book for you to curl up with.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Originally posted on my blog.  Cover Talk: I love how the cover

    Originally posted on my blog. 

    Cover Talk: I love how the cover is exactly how I picture Ruth’s homeland. Homesea? Homeplace. The cover is what caught my eye while browsing through a list of British mysteries on Goodreads because it didn’t try to obnoxious.




    First Line: “They wait for the tide and set out at first light.”




    Why I Read It: I have been in the mood for a good British mystery lately and when I read that the main character is an archaeologist  I knew it was something I desperately needed to read.




    Characters: Ruth is not the typical female heroine that I have grown accustomed to. She’e definitely better. I lovingly call her an “academic spinster.” She has two cats, not much of a social life outside of her digging and her lectures, and is fascinated by dead and buried things. When she is asked to used her archaeological skills to help shed some insight into a murder investigation, she accepts and becomes a wee bit obsessed. Obsessed and intelligent are how I like my amateur detectives.




    Nelson, or Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, is a serious, broody, workaholic. Ten years have gone by since Lucy has gone missing, and another child has just been kidnapped. Not a chapter or scene goes by when he’s not working hard at trying to solve these kidnappings. He is incredibly dedicated and is a lot smarter than he would have anyone believe.




    As for the secondary characters, I was really surprised by how well they all fit into this mystery and into Ruth’s life. Shona, her friend and colleague, is that friend you want to hate because she’s so beautiful, but is hard to resist because she’s just so nice. Erik, Ruth’s friend and mentor, is incredibly charming, alluring, and is a wonderful story teller. I loved his character. Cathbad is a druid/New Ager and I absolutely want to see more of him in the next book. And as for her neighbor, David, his character is definitely an interesting one. He is so quiet and is a bit of a loner. Oh, and has a thing for birds.




    Plot/World-building: I am such a sucker for British mysteries. I have never stepped foot outside of North America, but in my mind, I live in England, also Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. So reading this book and being submerged in British culture and landscape was simply amazing. The descriptions that Griffiths provides are beautiful, eerie, and evocative.




    Ruth and Nelson make such a brilliant team. They are both obsessive, smart, and love their jobs more than anything else. I loved seeing Ruth think things through while Nelson is already speeding away to follow leads. Their relationship also takes a turn that I didn’t really see coming and am interested to see what happens with them in the next books.




    My biggest enjoyment in The Crossing Places is the archaeological bits. I loved reading the discovering of bones, artifacts, and henges. And on top of that there is great attention to myths, history, and some New Age ways of thinking that made me want to be there to experience it all first hand.




    The ending I absolutely did not see coming. I’m still amazed at how everything came together and who was involved. I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of this series and seeing more of Ruth.




    Final Thoughts: I devoured this book in two days. It was so difficult to put down. I didn’t want to leave the characters or the marshes, and I certainly wanted to solve this damn case. Elly Griffiths is a great weaver of mysteries and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for Ruth.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Suspenseful!

    I recommend this book to all who love a mystery! Ruth Galloway is a wonderful "investigator" - unusual but practical in many ways. Loved this book, look forward to more by same author, however, there are some times when it drags a bit. Mostly it's very much worth the effort & money.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2011

    Love these books!

    I'm on the third Ruth Galloway Mystery. I enjoy these books so much that I special ordered the third one from the UK before it was even available in the USA. Maybe it's because I live in a landlocked American city, but I find the descriptions of the scenery so captivating, and Ruth is endearing and interesting, and I love the mix of Ruth's personal life and the great mysteries in each book. Can't wait for the next one!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Really excellent

    Beaitifully written, with an intriguing setting and thoroughly interesting characters. The identity of the culprit did seem obvious early, but there were others who coul d have been involved, so the plot still retained my interest. Highly recommended!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    I thought this story was very good.  It's nice when you can lear

    I thought this story was very good.  It's nice when you can learn from what you're reading.  It's full of facts about archeology.  It held my interest.  In fact, I could hardly put it down.
    I intend to read all her books now.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    First in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway, a feisty for

    First in a series of books featuring Ruth Galloway, a feisty forensic archeologist/teacher who lives on the edge of the marshlands near Norfolk, England.  In ancient mythology, this marshland was sacred because it was a mixture of land and sea. At one time, it was a land mass connecting present day England and Scandinavia. Ancient people's considered it to be sacred, a connection between earth and the afterlife.

    The book begins when  a young child goes missing and DCI Harry Nelson fears a connection to a similar missing child from ten years ago. Then the police find child's bones in the marshlands and  Nelson calls on Galloway to determine the age of these bones. Though these turn out to be ancient bones, Nelson and Galloway pair up to try and fine the two present day children because of letters Nelson has been receiving referring to ancient legends and tantalizing references to the first lost child.

    Ancient mythology and present day terrors form an intriguing mystery that drives these two characters further and further into dangerous situations.  A deft combination of forensic archeology and present day murder mystery makes this a most compelling read for historical and mystery fans alike.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 13, 2011

    Fun New Character

    Wonderful description of salt flats. Lots of interesting archeology. I will look forward to the next book by the author. I like it when a book is well written and actually has new information and words I need to look up.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Hit for Me

    This was an enjoyable read for me. The unique setting and the characters are what made this book for me. The mystery was okay; I pretty much figured out the villain early on, but there were enough red herrings thrown in that I wasn't positive of my belief. Ruth is not a loveable character in demeanor by any means (nor, for that matter, were any of the others), and yet I found myself drawn to her and her world BECAUSE she seemed "real" and flawed. One thing I found annoying was the author's constant reminder that Ruth was a bigger girl. You gave me enough description of her that I got the picture early on, and I felt the constant reminders of her size were unnecessary. So she's not a size 2 -- okay, I get it. Her size (which for most women in the real world is pretty much average) certainly didn't affect the story for me one way or another. I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to Ruth's next adventure.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Misque703@gmail.com Excellent!

    Excellent and wonderful read. Don't usually read foreign authors, yet this was quite captivating. Love Ruth the heroine. She's like 'Bridget Jones' mixed with CSI....5STARS!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

    Awesome!

    This book is sooooooo good!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Good read

    Read this book in about three days. Its a good short crime read. I like the main character Ruth Galloway and am excited to read her next book in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    Really great mystery.

    Enjoyed very much. Archeological references were interseting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Riveting and hard to put down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Quick, easy and riveting read!

    This is the first book I have read by Elly Griffiths. It was a very quick and easy read for me, but at the same time, it kept me interested in the storyline and the mystery that ensued. Once I got past the English verbiage,I was hooked! I liked this book so much, I have purchased 2 more books by this author. I promise, you will enjoy it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    Well, I didn't quite figure it all out!

    Other reviewers seemed to find the mystery easier, perhaps because I was distracted by the view, the archaeology and the well drawn characters. These were great distractions, so much so that within 2 weeks or so of discovering Ruth, I just finished book 4. Much still surprises me in these books, which feel well researched and intricate without being dull or complicated beyond belief. I like to feel I have learned some new information on a new topic even from reading detective fiction and these books deliver the goods.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Delight

    Well written. It keeps you entertained. I liked it so much that I read the entire book in one day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Disappointing

    Writing was somewhat pedantic, and plot was predictable. And surprise surprise the two protagonists have an affair.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    Good book

    Really enjoyed reading this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2012

    For those who like English murder mysteries

    Being English living abroad I seek out murder mysteries that can conjure up the countryside and culture of my birth and this does not dissapoint. Nothing too complex on the plot, which I like. Already into the next in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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