Customer Reviews for

The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway Series #2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

The mystery is good, but it's the characters I love

Crossing Places was the first novel of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series. I really enjoyed it and was happy to settle in with the second in the series - The Janus Stone.

This series takes place in the Norfolk region of England. Ruth has been called on to a constru...
Crossing Places was the first novel of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series. I really enjoyed it and was happy to settle in with the second in the series - The Janus Stone.

This series takes place in the Norfolk region of England. Ruth has been called on to a construction site in her capacity as a forensic archaeologist. The skeleton of a child has been found underneath a doorway by the builders as they demolish the original building - a mansion that was also home to an orphanage.

Finding a child's skeleton impacts Ruth rather more personally than usual - she is four months pregnant. As she delves farther into identifying the remains, someone else is just as hard at work - making sure she doesn't succeed. They seem determined to go to any lengths to stop her.

Griffiths has created a great character in Ruth. She is highly intelligent, but insecure in social settings. She happily lives alone with her cat in a remote cottage. (I love the descriptions of the isolated salt marsh and it's beauty) She has come to terms with being pregnant for the first time at forty, but isn't concerned about being a single parent. Just about telling her quite religious parents. Not a cookie cutter protagonist at all.

The supporting characters are just as interesting. I am quite taken with her friend and colleague Cathbad - a self proclaimed Druid. Recurring character DCI Harry Nelson is a man of many facets - the relationship between him and Ruth is quite complicated.

I'm intrigued with how much historical detail is woven into Griffiths' mysteries. Janus is the god of beginning and endings, January is named after him and he is the god of doorways - transitions and change. The forensic and archaeological details are real and accurate as well, not sensationalized at all.

The Janus Stone is interspersed with random entries from the killer's diaries, but it is impossible to try and date them. I thought I had figured out who the suspect was early on, but was proven wrong as the story progressed. Lots of twists and turns keep you guessing.

As much as I enjoyed the mystery part of the story, it is the characters and their interactions - especially those of Harry and Ruth that capture me. I cannot wait to see where Griffiths takes them - and us - next. Watch for the third in the series - House at Sea's End - I will be.

posted by Twink on January 31, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Worth a Read

Interesting look at the use of archaeological expertise in investigating murder. Makes me want to read more.

posted by Silvertipgriz on April 12, 2013

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The mystery is good, but it's the characters I love

    Crossing Places was the first novel of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway series. I really enjoyed it and was happy to settle in with the second in the series - The Janus Stone.

    This series takes place in the Norfolk region of England. Ruth has been called on to a construction site in her capacity as a forensic archaeologist. The skeleton of a child has been found underneath a doorway by the builders as they demolish the original building - a mansion that was also home to an orphanage.

    Finding a child's skeleton impacts Ruth rather more personally than usual - she is four months pregnant. As she delves farther into identifying the remains, someone else is just as hard at work - making sure she doesn't succeed. They seem determined to go to any lengths to stop her.

    Griffiths has created a great character in Ruth. She is highly intelligent, but insecure in social settings. She happily lives alone with her cat in a remote cottage. (I love the descriptions of the isolated salt marsh and it's beauty) She has come to terms with being pregnant for the first time at forty, but isn't concerned about being a single parent. Just about telling her quite religious parents. Not a cookie cutter protagonist at all.

    The supporting characters are just as interesting. I am quite taken with her friend and colleague Cathbad - a self proclaimed Druid. Recurring character DCI Harry Nelson is a man of many facets - the relationship between him and Ruth is quite complicated.

    I'm intrigued with how much historical detail is woven into Griffiths' mysteries. Janus is the god of beginning and endings, January is named after him and he is the god of doorways - transitions and change. The forensic and archaeological details are real and accurate as well, not sensationalized at all.

    The Janus Stone is interspersed with random entries from the killer's diaries, but it is impossible to try and date them. I thought I had figured out who the suspect was early on, but was proven wrong as the story progressed. Lots of twists and turns keep you guessing.

    As much as I enjoyed the mystery part of the story, it is the characters and their interactions - especially those of Harry and Ruth that capture me. I cannot wait to see where Griffiths takes them - and us - next. Watch for the third in the series - House at Sea's End - I will be.

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 6, 2012

    Does Not Disappoint

    The second in the Ruth Galloway series does not disappoint. I really connect to Ruth in this series, and enjoy the setting. I can't wait until I have the third book in hand to find out more about these characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2012

    Hurray! More mysteries with Ruth and Nelson!

    This is the second mystery in the series with Dr. Ruth Galloway. The characters are interesting and flawed, which makes solving the mysteries even more challenging. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist, which is not unique, but the location of the stories (England) increases the appeal. The author creates a great atmosphere for intrigue and murder.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 12, 2011

    Looking forward to the next book in the series

    Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist is called in to investigate the headless skeleton of a child found in the rubble of an old mansion (formally an orphanage). While trying to uncover the mystery though, she is given some not so subtle warnings to back off. Ruth quickly realizes someone is trying very hard to throw her off the trail and if this is not enough, Ruth is pregnant with her first child and now her life and the life of her unborn child is in serious jeopardy!
    "The Janus Stone" is Griffith's second Ruth Galloway mystery. I thought it was wonderfully written and although this was my introduction to the series-her first installment was "The Crossing Places"-I still fell in love with the main character right away. In this book Galloway teams up with Inspector Nelson to uncover the mystery of a headless skeleton of a child. This is quite poignant since Ruth is found to be pregnant herself. Her personal life comes into play often in the story and eventually becomes very purposeful to the plot and ending.
    The story takes many twists and turns and the author does a very good job of giving the reader many suspects to choose from, but does not lean towards any one of them in particular. Griffith also does a wonderful job of not just focusing on Ruth and Nelson to solve the mystery, but the entire team to help solve the puzzle. This is really a great read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

    Reviewed by Catherine Peterson for Suspense Magazine

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Great Series!

    The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths picks up just a few months after The Crossing Places. ** Spoiler ** Ruth Galloway is pregnant with Detective Harry Nelson's child. She is committed to raising the child on her own since Detective Nelson is happily married with two daughters. In this installment, Ruth finds herself involved with two archaeological digs. One of the digs takes place on the site of a former children's home. A developer is in the process of tearing down the house and turning the site into apartments, but the requisite archaeological dig unearths the skeleton of a young girl. The bones are first thought to be those of a 1970s runaway from the children's home, but a filling in the girl's tooth proves the skeleton more likely died in the 1950s. After she examines the bones, someone begins to frighten Ruth by leaving items, such as a dead bird and Ruth's name in blood, on the site of the second dig that Ruth is involved in. These items cause Ruth great distress. The big mystery surrounds the identity of the skeleton. Interspersed with the main story are chapters written from the point of view of the murderer. The murderer is well educated in history and mythology. In fact, both Ruth Galloway novels have integrated mythology and history into present day stories. In The Janus Stone, Janus is referenced as the god of beginnings and transitions. Janus acts as a gatekeeper, which includes doorways. The girl's skeleton is found under the doorway to the home. Thus, the archaeologists think that the child may have been a sacrifice to Janus. The Janus Stone is a good read, but I recommend starting with The Crossing Places. Many of the characters and events from The Crossing Places are referenced in the second novel. At the end of The Janus Stone, there is a teaser for the third novel, The House at Sea's End. The first few chapters are promising. Minor characters are revisited and a sea setting is prominent. The saltmarsh environment is a large part of what drew me to this series so I will definitely return to this series when it is released in the United States. Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an e-galley, via NetGalley.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2011

    Good read

    I look forward to the next in the series

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2014

    So enjoyable...a break from the usual reading...

    So enjoyable...a break from the usual reading...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Super

    Love the ending and getting to it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2013

    Good story

    I like the characters in

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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