Lets cut to the chase people, I loved this book. It is the first in a series that has become a definite new favourite of mine. I pretty much read The Crossing Places in one sitting, and then went straight out and ordered the next three.
Elly Griffiths' novels are are about Ruth Galloway a thirty something slightly plump forensic archaeologist who lives in the middle of nowhere in Norfolk. She gets dragged into a police investigation following her discovery of human bones on a sacred worshiping site which turn out to be considerably newer than the sacred site they are being associated with.
It sounds like any other crime novel doesn't it? But there is something about the characters in this series, they are incredibly down to earth and believable, which sets them apart from similar modern crime novels.The plot isn't especially shocking or twisty, but you don't mind because it is genuinely the characters that make this story tick. Be it Ruth for her clumsiness, DCI Nelson for his gruff nature or Cathbad the local druid for his weirdness, all of the characters have a quirk that makes them stand out from the crowd, and makes you love them.
Another beauty of the story is its simplicity, it is about forensics and archaeology, which adds a context that keeps the story interesting, and it has police procedure and there was a murder somewhere, but it is so easy to grasp. None of the science makes your brain hurt like certain crime authors I don't care to name, and the police behaviour finds a balance between feeding our stereotypes and still feeling like it is genuine. The coppers in these books have to do their paperwork, and they don't dash about in flashy cars, entering crime scenes without the proper precautions.
I was genuinely left content and smiling when I finished this book, until the craving for the next hit, and the next, and the next. I have read all in the series and will no doubt review them in time, but even five books down the line I still want more. hurry up Ms Griffiths! I need my Ruth fix!
P.S. You can currently buy The Crossing Places for only £2.32 at the Book Depository!