Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Review: The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

Last week I was reading a post by Mary Saums on the Femmes Fatales blog in which she mentioned a couple of books that sounded like they might interest me. Because I have so many books in my TBR queue and I'm trying not to spend money on more books, I downloaded samples to my nook to read before deciding whether to buy one of these or not.

Before I finished reading the sample of The Crossing Places, I'd already made up my mind to buy the full book. My finger did pause over the confirmation for just a few seconds because the price was $9.99 and I don't believe in paying more than the price of a paperback for an ebook, but it was only for a few seconds. The writing was that good.

This is a British mystery in the tradition of the classics. It is heavy in atmosphere, the dreary, rainy Saltmarsh enveloping the reader in mystery and obscuring the facts in mist. The heroine, Ruth Galloway, is a forensic archaeologist but, more than that, she's a real person. She's overweight, approaching middle age, and single. She's an independent loner, but has connections to some interesting characters.

Her counterpart, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, is also believable. He isn't the bumbling policeman who needs the help of an amateur to solve the murders. He's a competent professional seeking the advice of an expert. And yet there's an attraction to Ruth, despite the fact that DCI Nelson is happily married to a beautiful woman.

Past and present are linked through the burial sites found around the ancient henge on the Saltmarsh. Echos of the pagan gods are reinforced by the beliefs of and reverence for the site by the caped Cathbart and Ruth's mentor, Eric.

This was a book I could not put down for very long. It cast a spell and kept calling me back until I finished it. Highly recommended.
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