The Crossing Places

The Crossing Places

by Elly Griffiths

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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An atmospheric adventure with beloved forensic archaeologist and “captivating amateur sleuth” Ruth Galloway, as she teams up with Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson to investigate a set of remains, thought to be the bones of a little girl who went missing ten years before—“an inspired creation” (Louise Penny).
Forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her cats in a remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants—not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine is harshly upended when a child’s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson calls Ruth for help, believing the bones to be the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing a decade ago and whose abductor taunts him with bizarre letters referencing ritual sacrifice, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives a new letter—exactly like the ones about Lucy.

Is it the same killer? Or a copycat murderer, linked in some way to the site near Ruth’s remote home?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328622372
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Series: Ruth Galloway Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 333,906
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

ELLY GRIFFITHS is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Magic Men mystery series, and the standalone novel The Stranger Diaries. She is a recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

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The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway Series #1) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Shirley_Holmes More than 1 year ago
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.
ChristineJ_MaMa_Jones More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
MMS-RET More than 1 year ago
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.
RonnaL More than 1 year ago
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.
TWTaz More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sooooooo good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Riveting and hard to put down!
bookworm52 More than 1 year ago
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!
cloggiedownunder 8 months ago
The Crossing Places is the first book in the Ruth Galloway series by award-winning British author, Elly Griffiths. Norfolk DCI Harry Nelson has been haunted by the unsolved case of little Lucy Downey’s disappearance for ten years. When some human bones are discovered at the salt marshes near Kings Lynn, Harry calls on archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway to give an opinion on the bones. Ruth’s cottage is quite close, and she is interested in anything to do with the marshes. The bones, and the accompanying Iron Age artefacts, turn out to be a noteworthy find for archaeology, but no resolution for the Downey family. Nelson is impressed by Ruth’s professionalism, and he makes an impression on her too: “He was an odd man, she thought, brusque and unfriendly, but it seemed as if he had really cared about that little girl.” It’s this caring, perhaps, that sees her ready to help. Then another little girl goes missing, and Nelson asks for Ruth’s input on the letters he has been regularly receiving, letters telling him in the vaguest terms where Lucy, and now young Scarlet, are. The letters are filled with a mixture of strange references: biblical, Norse legend, literary, Greek legend, pagan and archaeological, and successively take an increasingly exasperated, at times almost taunting, tone at Nelson’s failure to find the missing girls. This specialised knowledge means that, if the letters are actually from the killer, suspicion falls on certain people who were in the area ten years earlier: Ruth was on a dig with colleagues and volunteers, excavating a beach henge; a group of Druids were part of a protest against it. Could one of these seemingly gentle, nature-loving souls be a murderer? A grisly find on her doorstep then has Ruth wondering if she’s being warned off. Griffiths tells the story using Ruth and Harry as her main narrators, with occasional passages from the perspective of a captive girl. The plot is believable, the archaeology interesting and the characters are quite convincing for all their flaws and quirks. It is certainly refreshing to read a female protagonist who is not slim and gorgeous. There are twists and red herrings to keep the reader guessing right up to the final chapters, and little surprise that will ensure readers are eager for the second instalment, The Janus Stone. An outstanding debut novel.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
Goodreads reviews for The Crossing Places are mixed, but I have to say that I did enjoy this suspense novel that mixes archeology and crime in an enticing story. I didn’t expect much when I started reading, as I had never heard of the author nor the book before. The blurb drew me in. But as soon as I started the book, I was pleasantly surprised. I’ll talk about characters first, plot second, settings third and writing last. Ruth Galloway, the main character, isn’t the typical heroine you’d expect in a crime story. She’s a forty-something, overweight academic who is genuinely convinced her weight makes her unattractive. She’s a loner surrounded more by cats than people, and lives close to the marshlands, the Saltmarsh, near Norfolk. As an archeologist, the discovery of a two thousand year old skeleton in the marshland behind her home makes her more than a little excited. I liked Ruth because she was different – it was like she’d walked straight out of an entirely different novel and sat down in the middle of this one. Lately it seems like I’ve been reading more and more books with academics playing a large role, and I’m kind of fond of these types of protagonists, the ones who think first and act later. The old cliché of an action-packed police force trying to reign in the killer is getting tiresome, and I much prefer the less straightforward protagonist. Ruth is a woman with a lot of self-doubt, and it made her all the more real for me. She depends too much on other people, like her mentor and the other academics at university, and spends too much time worrying what others might think of her. The discovery of the bones is a blessing in disguise for Ruth, because it allows her to venture outside of her known territory and maybe try something new and exciting. Then there’s Harry Nelson, Chief Inspector of the police, and everything Ruth isn’t. Athletic, strong, powerful, dominant. His very presence in a room is overwhelming – the kind of person who dominates an entire crowd simply by making an appearance, a stark contrast to Ruth’s personality. Ruth is a scholar and Harry is a man of action. He’s tormented by the case of a girl who went missing ten years ago, Lucy, a case never solved. Harry is more of a stereotype, the one of the tormented detective, haunted by this one particular case that won’t leave him alone. Nevertheless, he too steps outside of the known character stereotypes, because he’s okay with thinking outside of the box and seeing the connection between the thousand-year-old corpse in the marsh and the disappearance of Lucy. Plot-wise, the book was mediocre at best. A body is discovered in the marshland, and Chief Inspector Harry Nelson thinks it may be Lucy, the missing girl from ten years ago. Ruth and her team of archeologists go to investigate, but it turns out the body is over two thousand years old. Involuntarily, the discovery of the ancient bones draws Ruth into the investigation. Ever since Lucy went missing, Harry has received letters with bizarre references to sacrifices and rituals, and asks Ruth to help decipher those letters. The letters point toward a fellow archeologist Ruth used to know, and the longer Ruth decides to help the police, the more she becomes involved in the case, which is a lot closer to home than she realized… I actually figured out who had taken Lucy from the first moment said person was introduced. I kind of predicted the end halfway through the book. But, it had enough twist and turns to keep me interest, and I was really impressed by the combination of law enforcement and crime solving and archeology. I’m a huge archeology freak, and I love crime novels, so for me this was the ultimate twist. The mystery with the rituals and sacrifice had me intrigued as well. While the plot bordered on predictable, I was still impressed by how intrigued I was by what was going on, and how much I enjoyed reading about it. The setting was extraordinary, and very well-described. The bleak, unforgiving landscape of the marshland behind Ruth’s house provided a dreary, depressive and sometimes dark and haunting setting. At times, it seemed like the marsh itself had become a character in this book. A lot of Goodreads reviewers complained about the use of present tense in this book, but it didn’t bother me. I actually like books written in present tense – it adds a sense of urgency. The sometimes excessive use of exclamation points didn’t bother me either, I guess I was too engrossed in the story to care. Nevertheless, I understand the point about complaining about the tense of this book, and if you think it might annoy you as well, then better stay away from this book. If you’re a fan of archeology and crime however, and you don’t care about some writing choices, then The Crossing Places is an excellent choice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
lmore More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed very much. Archeological references were interseting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. It keeps you entertained. I liked it so much that I read the entire book in one day.
Cadagon More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started out with #3 in the series then read #1. Just finished #2 and enjoyed it very much. Characters are real and the archeology history is interesting and fun.
Mrs_ELS More than 1 year ago
This series of mysteries starring Dr. Ruth Galloway is superb. The character of Ruth is intelligent and caring yet has little confidence in her appearance and appeal. Don't skip any of the books in this series. The characters develop through each book.
LoriLouLL More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this one. Her discriptions of the land are wonderful. I bought her other books after reading this one.
canarylampshade More than 1 year ago
Ruth Galloway is likable and sympathetic -- she'd make a great co-worker, or professor. Or friend. The setting is terrific, and the supporting characters are great. The plot is VERY interesting, and suspenseful, and listening to it while driving home in the rain just past midnight resulted in my yelling at Dr. Galloway several times to "Look out!" I'm a huge mystery fan, and I'm glad I found Elly Griffiths.
Anonymous 3 months ago