The Crossing Places - Elly Griffiths

IT S always nice when you come upon the first in what promises to be an entertaining series of adventures with a new crime fiction hero. Elly Griffiths publishers are clearly confident her likeable forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway will prove a hit

IT'S always nice when you come upon the first in what promises to be an entertaining series of adventures with a new crime fiction hero.

Elly Griffiths' publishers are clearly confident her likeable forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway will prove a hit and are already hailing The Crossing Places (�12.99, Quercus) as the "first" Galloway story.

And I'm sure they're right.

Ruth is a Bridget Jones-ish singleton, slightly fat and frumpy, who lives - happily alone - in a small cottage in the wilds of Norfolk and teaches at the university.


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When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an old dig site, Det Chief Insp Harry Nelson asks Ruth to date them.

He suspects they belong to a little girl, missing since she was abducted 10 years ago.

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Nelson has been haunted by the case, and regular letters he receives taunting him about his failure to solve it, ever since.

Disappointingly for Nelson, the bones are two thousand years old and so his case remains unsolved.

Then a second girl goes missing and he receives another letter. Soon it becomes clear Ruth is in grave danger from a killer who knows that her expertise is being used to help the police.

Griffiths quickly builds her character so that within pages we feel we know Ruth and can identify with her. And as she warms to Nelson, despite his initially brusque manner, so we, too, begin to like him.

- LINDSAY JONES

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