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From the PublisherThe Saltmarsh, a mystical place, provides the stunning backdrop for a new mystery series.Ruth Galloway is an overweight 40-ish forensic archaeologist living happily and quietly with her two cats in a Saltmarsh cottage when DCI Harry Nelson calls on her to establish the age of some bones found on a lonely beach. Nelson has never given up the search for Lucy Downey, taken from her parents’ home 10 years ago and presumed dead. But these bones, to Ruth’s delight, are those of an Iron Age child ritually buried. Despite their disparate backgrounds, the tough cop is sufficiently impressed by Ruth’s calm professionalism to show her a series of taunting letters he’s received over the years, presumably from the killer. She’s struck by the use of biblical and literary quotations and some arcane archaeological knowledge. The Iron Age find brings interest from both the university where Ruth teaches and her former mentor Erik Anderssen. The dig they worked together at the Saltmarsh now provides a shoal of suspects for Nelson. Reputed magician Cathbad, Ruth’s former lover Peter, her friend Shona and Erik were all around at the time. When one of Ruth’s cats is killed and left on her doorstep and another child goes missing, she’s sucked even deeper into the challenging and terrifying hunt for the truth.A winning debut. Aficionados may guess the killer early on, but the first-rate characters and chilling story are entrancing from start to finish. - Kirkus Reviews
Issue: November 15, 2009
The Crossing Places.
Griffiths, Elly (Author)
Jan 2010. 304 p. Houghton, hardcover, $25.00. (9780547229898).
Nearing 40 and overweight, forensic anthropologist Ruth Galloway is content with her life, teaching at the
University of North Norfolk and living in a cottage on remote Saltmarsh with her two cats. When DCI
Harry Nelson enlists her help in identifying the bones of a child unearthed in the marsh, he anticipates
closing the case of five-year-old Lucy Downey, snatched from her bed 10 years earlier. But Ruth confirms
that the bones date from the Iron Age, an exciting find that recalls memories of a dig led by her mentor,
Erik, at which she met her former lover, Peter. Impressed with Ruth, Nelson shares his file on the missing
child and calls on her when another little girl goes missing, putting Ruth herself at risk. Griffiths combines
elements of archaeology, mythology, and even ornithology with the foreboding mood of the marsh. The
result is an atmospheric mystery with a pulse-pounding climax and starring an oh-so-human protagonist
who deals with life realistically. A knockout start for a series that should have broad appeal across the
crime genre, from thriller fans to lovers of slightly edgy cozies.
—Michele Leber (Booklist)
Dr. Ruth Galloway lives on the remote English beach of Saltmarsh and teaches archeology at a small local university. When a child's bones are found on a beach nearby, DCI Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. He thinks they may be those of a missing child from a ten-year-old cold case that involved bizarre letters mentioning rituals and sacrifices. But the bones turn out to be nearly 2000 years old. Then another child vanishes, and Galloway stays on the case. More letters turn up, and these pull Galloway deeper into the hunt and into real danger. VERDICT Crime solving and anthropology have gone hand in hand through other successful mystery series such as those by Erin Hart and Aaron Elkins; Griffiths's debut stands well with them. Both Nelson and Galloway are captivating characters, and Griffiths's story is strong, well plotted, and suspenseful, leaving the reader eager for more adventures on the windswept Norfolk coast. Highly recommended.Ã¢â‚¬â€?Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CA - Library Journal