The Crossing Places opens on an archaelogical dig where the protagonist, Dr Ruth Galloway, discovers a body – but it is an Iron Age body preserved in the peat of the saltmarsh. Not all the bodies in this book are so old.
The mixture of sand, sea, marsh, wind, lost tribes and lost voices is a compelling one. Ms Griffiths’ first book successfully combines a dry academic subject with the more painful aspects of policing to produce a crime drama swept up in the sometimes glorious, sometimes desolate skies of Norfolk. In Ruth we find a reasonable, intelligent and lonesome soul, concerned about her age, weight and purpose, meeting a policeman concerned with the ghosts of cases past and present. She becomes his expert witness – the bones expert – but they find they work well as a team, since neither can let sleeping dogs lie.
There are likable and dislikable characters, old hippies and born-again Christians. There are forlorn lovers and distraught parents. There are samples and mixtures of literature designed to lead one astray. The whole is an excellent piece of misdirection and evocative description that tends towards the gothic in its eerie delivery. When I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I’m looking forward to the next one.
I purchased this book as part of my Norfolk Book season.