Friday, September 9, 2011

The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

The Crossing Places is the first in a new British mystery series that Booklist gave a starred review (and Publisher's Weekly called "serviceable"). Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist at the University of North Norfolk, living in a remote cottage by the marshes of the North Sea. She has lived there for a decade, ever since she helped dig up an Iron Age timber circle out of the marsh. The author was inspired by "Seahenge," pictured below.


Ruth meets DCI Harry Nelson, who is searching for two missing children, when he finds Bronze Age bones in the marsh. Nelson has also received letters about the missing girls that have references to Norse mythology and archaeology.

I love the ocean, mythology, and anything ancient, so the setting attracted me immediately. As Elly Griffiths explained in an interview:

We were walking over Titchwell Marsh on the North Norfolk coast and [her husband, an archaeologist] happened to mention that prehistoric man saw marshland as sacred – because it’s neither land nor sea but something in-between, they saw it as a kind of bridge to the afterlife. Neither land nor sea, neither life nor death. The entire plot of The Crossing Places came to me in that instant.
The next mystery in the series, Janus Stone, has references to Roman mythology, and Library Journal promises it has more "wonderful British seaside scenery". It will be interesting to see how Ruth and Harry get on in the next novel, given their odd relationship in The Crossing Places.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I'm glad you reviewed Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway mysteries. I read the first two and loved them both. I also gave them a mention here

and listed a few read-a-likes. The Janus Stone is just as fascinating as the Crossing Places.