Bones that appear to belong to a child have been found on the salt marshes of Norfolk. DCI Harry Nelson calls in archeologist Ruth Galloway to see if his fears that the bones are that of a local girl who vanished ten years ago are confirmed. Whilst these bones are found to be dating from the Iron Age, Nelson is determined not to give up looking for the missing child. He seeks Ruth’s help in deciphering taunting letters sent to him. Then a second child goes missing and Ruth is drawn further into the case, and closer to danger.
The characters help make the story. Nelson and Ruth both clash yet complement each other, he being taciturn to her more gentle yet professional nature. This book very much sets the tone for the series, establishing characters so that the reader will want to read more about them in future novels.
I had figured out who the murderer was from quite early in the novel but this didn’t spoil my enjoyment. It was interesting to see how the clues were laid out and either missed or picked up on by the characters. The blend of archeology and detection was just right, it never felt like Elly Griffiths was trying to information dump on the reader. The history of the location blended well with the modern-day mystery.
The only issue I had with the novel was the repeated references to Ruth’s weight. I understand that the author has to paint the picture of a character so that the reader can easily visualise them in their mind’s eye. However it almost got to the point where Ruth was defined by her size and not her intelligence, skill or knowledge.
The Crossing Places has the air of a Sunday night serial drama about it, and I mean that in a positive way. There was something comfortingly familiar about the novel and the characters, where a fictional world was created that welcomes a regular return.
The good thing about being late to an established series is that there are lots more books to catch up on. I have the feeling I’ll be busy for a little while.