The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths is the first book in the Ruth Galloway series. I had been planning to read this one for a while, but I was reminded to read it with the recent acquisition of an e-galley for The Janus Stone, which is the second book in the series. I must commend myself for actually beginning with the first book in a series for once!
The Crossing Places takes place in a wet and marshy area of Norway, England. Archaeologist Ruth Galloway is asked to identify some bones that a detective believes may belong to a young girl who has been missing for ten years. Ruth judges the bones to be approximately 2000 years old – not those of the missing girl. Despite the bones being unrelated to the detective’s case, Ruth finds herself intrigued by both Detective Harry Nelson and the missing girl. Another child has gone missing in recent months and Detective Nelson believes that the cases could be connected. He confides to Ruth that he has been receiving letters that reference ancient rituals and sacrifices, taunting him for not finding the missing girls.
I usually like forensic and archaeology-centric mysteries and this series is no exception. I wish there had not been so many references to Ruth being overweight. I realize that it helps develop her character, but does her weight really matter that much? Alternatively, I really enjoyed the setting of a rainy saltmarsh. I am in Texas and it has been incredibly hot and dry. The Crossing Places felt like a nice, rainy escape. And the book ended with a great cliffhanger. I am excited that I have the next Ruth Galloway novel ready to go. I just have to finish one other book first!
A few additional writers with forensic anthropology/archaeology-based mysteries spring to mind: Erin Hart, Beverly Connor, Simon Beckett, Kathy Reichs, Aaron Elkins and Jefferson Bass. Are there any other authors that I absolutely must read in this genre?