Ruth Galloway is the creation of Elly Griffiths. Stout, stubborn, and outspoken, Ruth is single, nearly forty, and teaches forensic archeology at the University of North Norfolk on the central eastern coast of England. Along with her two cats, she lives in an isolated cottage on the edge of a desolate saltmarsh, a bleak stretch of marshland she fell in love with while working there on a summer dig.
In The Crossing Places, the first book in the series, Detective Inspector Harry Nelson, a brusque man haunted by the disappearance of a young girl ten years before, arrives in Ruth’s office asking for her help. The bones of a child have been discovered on the saltmarsh and he needs Ruth’s expertise to identify them. When they turn out to be the bones of an Iron Age girl who died two thousand years ago, Ruth is excited by the discovery and thinks that her involvement with the police is concluded. But Nelson returns, seeking her help in deciphering the literary allusions and archeological references in letters he has been receiving from the missing girl’s kidnapper. And when a second girl disappears, Ruth finds herself inextricably involved.
An engaging mystery, The Crossing Places is an excellent read, filled with down-to earth characters, vivid descriptions, and a fast-paced storyline with plenty of twists and turns.
Note: While each book in this series can be read as a standalone, there is a continually developing storyline between Ruth Galloway and Detective Inspector Harry Nelson. It’s best if you read the books in order. Also, this series is written in the present tense, rather than the more typical past tense of most novels, and this takes a page or two to get used to, but don’t let it put you off. It is well worth the read.