The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths


The main character in the police procedurals I have enjoyed in the past typically have certain characteristics:  a tendency to drink too much, problems being a good husband, competence (unlike his fellow policemen), and the need to lose a bit of weight.  Ruth Galloway is a forensic archaeologist specializing in bones who teaches at a university in Norfolk on the eastern coast of England and lives with her two cats next to a marshland.  She is overweight, highly competent, and divorced, but more introspective than most.

She is called on for help by a local policeman and a pleasingly complex and satisfying story develops. There are interesting characters — her mentor in archaeology, a colleague who shares a bottle of wine as needed, a neighbor she doesn't really know, an ex-husband who turns up, and the gruff Detective Chief Inspector she helps.  And there are her born-again Christian parents.

This was very much fun to read, an excellent Christmas present from Jen and Brooke. I gather this is the first in a series that feature Ruth Galloway; I wonder if the Norfolk area near King's Lynn will turn out to have a surprising number of murders…. 

Elly Griffiths, The Crossing Places, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 297 pages (I read the Kindle edition). 

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