Sunday, August 23, 2009

Review: The Crossing Places Coming From England in January!

The Crossing Places
A Ruth Galloway Mystery
By Elly Griffiths
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547229898
306 Pages
1-2010 Edition

Elly Griffiths’ The Crossing Places, includes all my favorite things! With a professional rating of 1-5, my personal rating is 10! Mystery, suspense, a taste of gothic, great forensics knowledge, a little bit spooky, a touch of the mystic, a captivating whodunit, and a main character I can actually relate to! It doesn’t get any better for me!

Ruth Galloway is an archaeology professor who lives near a dig site she once worked. There are isolated marshes, dangerous areas where one can be lost instantly, yet Ruth has found the home that suits her and her two cats. Now ten years later, based upon her forensics expertise, she is called upon to examine a body that is found very close to the former dig and, of course, close to where she lives. This connection results in an avalanche of murder, intrigue, love, and loss of trust because Ruth is right in the middle of it all!

Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson had also been there ten years ago. And when they found the buried child, he immediately thought, and hoped, that it was Lucy—Lucy who had been kidnapped and never found. Even finding her in death would be better than never knowing where she was! Nelson stood over Ruth as she kneeled to study the body. The child had been tied down, seemingly with vines. Then Ruth saw the torque, knew it definitely was from the Iron Age and suggested to the Detective that this was probably an ancient body, which on later examination proved to be correct.

The find did not ease the frustration of the police and family, but it did create excitement in the archaeological field. Ruth called her former professor, with whom she had worked on the original dig and explained what had been found. He was able to take a sabbatical and was soon there, seemingly to take over her discovery. Ruth was not pleased. But Eric moved ahead, getting permission to dig, pulling together a crew... Even Ruth had to admit she was happy to be back digging!

But then she would remember why permission had been granted. Another little girl had been kidnapped, her body found buried in the old dig site!

The police had of course conducted their own investigation, but Detective Nelson knew that the detailed search and dig process by professional archaeological staff could be beneficial to finding additional clues. But during that time, the past came back to haunt Ruth:

Her previous lover had separated from his family and came to live near her while he wrote a book, but really hoping to rekindle their earlier romance.

One of the main protestors of the previous dig was found to be living nearby and even working at the same university where Ruth was.

Eric’s return brought back all of her hero-worship/love feelings for him, even while he was laying claim to her discoveries!

And it was Detective Nelson who was pulling her further and further into solving the case--as well as close to him!

Actually, for a self-proclaimed overweight spinster, there were quite a number of potential suitors in her life, including one of her next-door neighbors who she had just become acquainted with!

Sounds like an ideal situation for her?

Well, no, because every one of those individuals was somehow tied to the kidnapping of the two little girls! Believe me folks, this whodunit keeps you guessing right up to the very end... I was fairly certain, then the seductive clues of the author would change my mind to another! Exciting, puzzling, page-turning suspense at its finest! I’ll be looking for more books by Elly Griffiths! Especially those in the Ruth Galloway mystery series!

G. A. Bixler

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