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The Crossing Places | [Elly Griffiths]

The Crossing Places

When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.
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Publisher's Summary

When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, Ruth Galloway lectures at the University of North Norfolk. She lives happily alone in a remote place called Saltmarsh overlooking the North Sea and, for company; she has her cats Flint and Sparky, and Radio 4. When a child's bones are found in the marshes near an ancient site that Ruth worked on ten years earlier, Ruth is asked to date them.

The bones turn out to be two thousand years old, and DCI Harry Nelson, who called on Ruth for help, is disappointed. He'd hoped they would be the bones of a child called Lucy who's been missing for ten years; he's been getting letters about her ever since. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives more letters.

Soon it becomes clear that Ruth is in grave danger from a killer who knows that her expert knowledge is being used to help the police with their enquiries.

©2009 Elly Griffiths; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (368 )
5 star
 (122)
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Overall
4.0 (293 )
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (295 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (34)
2 star
 (10)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Gail N. San Diego 11-14-14
    Gail N. San Diego 11-14-14 Member Since 2012

    Honest Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Entertaining but with some reservations"

    The book holds together pretty well and provides a few heart pounding moments. Suspects abound and the author keeps you somewhat guessing. But the heroine does whine a bit, especially about being fat. Some of the action seems very contrived and the hopeful ending is completely unbelievable. To be believable, the story should have taken place over a few months instead of over 10 years. The worst part is the narrator's attempt at a male Norwegian accent. Because of these problems, I hesitate to recommend the book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura STONEHAM, MA, United States 06-03-15
    Laura STONEHAM, MA, United States 06-03-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    5
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    "Excellent!"

    Loved the setting, characters and story. Can't wait to listen to the next book in the series!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Grimes 05-19-15
    Lisa Grimes 05-19-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good solid read"

    An interesting plot, solid writing, and left me wondering if there would be a sequel. A win in my book! The reader was good and the voices fit the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Kolock Rochester, NY USA 05-17-15
    C. Kolock Rochester, NY USA 05-17-15 Member Since 2015

    C Kelly

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable"

    The ending and the villains were both a bit predictable, but the protagonist is an engaging character and the story is enjoyable. Many of the characters are written with a realism, meaning they sometimes do things they can't fully explain, and all of them have flaws as well as redeeming qualities. The setting and the imagery of the marshlands was evocative and makes me yearn to go find a similar cabin and spend a solitary season or two doing a bit of writing and exploring in that lonesome land.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mari Nordø Pettersen 03-16-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No, that's not a Norwegian accent!"
    If you could sum up The Crossing Places in three words, what would they be?

    Archeology, excitement, mud


    What didn’t you like about Jane McDowell’s performance?

    If you choose to read with an accent, you must master that accent! The Norwegians sounded like a mix between Russians and Indians. That ruined it quite a bit for me.


    Any additional comments?

    There is much emphasis on the main charachter's weight. It is stated that she is fat, has problems moving about and can't find ordinary clothes. But she's not even 80 kiloes. That's a bit hysterical, isn't it?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen S. Garvin Maryland 03-01-15
    Karen S. Garvin Maryland 03-01-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not creepy, but maudlin"
    Would you try another book from Elly Griffiths and/or Jane McDowell?

    Maybe. I had high expectations for this story but the beginning put me off the main character until about halfway through the book. I am repulsed when a character starts out by whining and feeling self-pity before I've had a chance to decide whether I even care enough about this fictional person to keep reading or listening.However, I think Elly Griffiths did a good job of putting the mystery together and it wasn't obvious who the murderer was until very near the end, although he was one person I had suspected. (Makes you feel good when you guess right, doesn't it?)


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The book opened with what I'd call an info dump as Ruth was feeling sorry for herself. I don't like whining; it might have been more acceptable if I'd met Ruth and knew a bit more about her before the info dump hit. As it was I just wanted to scream at my speaker, "Stop whining!"As for Harry Nelson, his character began as a trope -- the dumb cop. I actually felt more sympathy for this character because he was being stereotyped by the main character and the other characters in the book.


    Which character – as performed by Jane McDowell – was your favorite?

    I though Jane McDowell did a good job of handling all the characters, even the men. It's difficult for men to speak women's roles and women to speak men's roles without sounding slightly ridiculous, but I think she did very well and managed to convey different voices without overacting. She was also consistent with delivery of the different character's voices.My only complaint is that in some places the volume changed dramatically -- one scene were Nelson shouts jarred so much I had to quickly turn down the volume on my speaker. That is something that should have been smoothed out by the sound engineer, but otherwise the sound was good.


    Could you see The Crossing Places being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    This could possibly be a movie, as it has all the ingredients for a good TV mystery. There are a lot of things in the book that would make wonderful visuals, such as the Druid and the henge and the saltmarsh landscape. I don't know who I'd suggest for the roles.


    Any additional comments?

    My pet peeve was that I felt the author was speaking down to the reader too much by overexplaining basic archaeological terms such as Iron Age. Nelson the cop is used as the dummy so Ruth can explain all about the archaeology, thus setting the stage for another info dump. Now, I wouldn't necessarily expect Nelson to know about some of the finer burial practices of Iron Age peoples, which is after all Ruth's purview, but I expect most readers will have heard about the Iron Age and Stone Age and have an idea of which came first. Nelson, sadly, didn't have a clue. It's not that these things shouldn't have been explained for readers who aren't into archaeology, but I think it could have been handled a little better without making the other characters into dummies. Another peeve: Late in the book Ruth in in a spot to wonder if water conducts electricity. For me this takes away from her scientific background and makes me wonder about the holes in her education. Now if she had wondered whether salt water was a better conductor than fresh water, I think that would have showed both her worry and her scientific thinking at work.Spoiler Alert: the ending wasn't exactly predictable, but it was somewhat maudlin. I am a woman, yes, but I don't connect with stories that just want me to know how wonderful motherhood is and paint childless women as weirdos until they discover the "religion" of mommyhood. This will probably keep me from buying the next book unless someone convinces me that the characters grow in complexity in the next volume. I want to see Ruth solve another mystery, not just hear about her female issues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 10-05-14
    Sharon in Surrey Vancouver, Canada 10-05-14 Member Since 2006

    Old Broad with Keyboard

    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
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    "Surprisingly good Thriller"
    If you could sum up The Crossing Places in three words, what would they be?

    A spooky adventure.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Crossing Places?

    The moment that Ruth realized WHO the real bad guy was. The ending was a bit of a surprise too.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. In fact, I almost did but had to finally give it up & go to bed at 4 in the morning!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I liked it. I liked it so much I bookmarked the entire series. It was surprisingly good. Lots of action. Lots of suspense. Nothing unrealistic & everything was quite shockingly believable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    twoseagreeneyes 07-19-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    7
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    "A great mystery mixed with unique setting"
    Where does The Crossing Places rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I will be looking for Book 2 !


    What does Jane McDowell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Also a first for me was listening the narration of Jane McDowell who does an excellent using her voice to add to the distinctive flavor of the area and its inhabitants. Her slower, smooth pace and smooth transition of characters makes this a great listen. Although there are different dialects in some of the characters she makes them all sound quite natural.


    Any additional comments?

    Within the misty saltmarsh along the North Sea, a pile bones is unearthed. DI Nelson suspects they may be those of a young girl gone missing ten years ago. Nelson has never closed the case and has received cryptic disturbing letters over the years since her disappearance, taunting him about her whereabouts. He enlists Professor Ruth Galloway, a forensic anthropologist to determine the sex and age of the bones, hoping to finally bring some closure to the little girl’s family.

    Then, another little girl goes missing and fearing that the same killer is at work, he and Ruth team up to try to make sense of the grisly letters hoping it will lead them to the girl, before she is gone forever.
    Living alone with only her cats as companions, Ruth becomes a focal point for the killer who fears her expert knowledge might lead DI Nelson to discovering just who he/she is.

    The Crossing Places is the first in a series by Elly Griffiths, and was my first read by this author. I was delighted to find a new series that I will surely read more of. I found the third person style of storytelling refreshing and I was fascinated by tidbits of forensic anthropology thrown into the plot. Ruth’s lack of self-esteem regarding her appearance is one that many of us can identify with and therefore makes her character seem all the more real. The descriptions of the saltmarsh area are vivid and captivating making it easy to picture this unique environment that is the setting for the book.

    Also a first for me was listening the narration of Jane McDowell who does an excellent using her voice to add to the distinctive flavor of the area and its inhabitants. Her slower, smooth pace and smooth transition of characters makes this a great listen. Although there are different dialects in some of the characters she makes them all sound quite natural.

    Overall I would rate this book as 4 stars, which for me means that this was a very good book. I enjoyed it, perhaps even had a hard time "putting it down". I would recommend this book to others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Hill Brooklyn, NY USA 05-24-14
    R. Hill Brooklyn, NY USA 05-24-14 Member Since 2014

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "interesting characters and setting"

    The setting and characters are compelling. It was easy to solve the whodunnit long before the story was over, but the characters and some plot twists kept it interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RSR West Hartford, CT 10-17-13
    RSR West Hartford, CT 10-17-13 Member Since 2014

    RSR

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Suspense, Archaeology, and strong real Woman"
    What made the experience of listening to The Crossing Places the most enjoyable?

    The gentle nature of the reader, and the nuances between characters all made this a great listening experience. The story flows smoothly, though there are a couple of moments when it transitions from one focus to another when a longer pause might have helped me make the transition better.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Didn't want to put it down. Things moved quickly, but I found myself wondering until the very end just which character was the "bad guy." Depth of character, despite what seemed like caricatures, kept the suspense high.


    Have you listened to any of Jane McDowell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first by this performer, but I'd choose her again!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Brought me to tears at a couple of points - both from relief and from sadness.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • VLF
    Kent
    4/28/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good story, narrator not great"

    Woeful accents started to grate on my nerves but I enjoyed the story and when speaking as "Ruth" the accent wasn't an issue.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    4/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I loved this book, but not for the story!!"
    Would you listen to The Crossing Places again? Why?

    Yes, I really enjoyed this book. The story is very predictable, and I's sussed who the kidnapper was about half way through. But Just loved the descriptions of the North Norfolk coast. The characters were interesting too.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The setting of the book in North Norfolk and the links to Bronze/Iron age Britain. I found it fascinating reading/listening about both.


    What aspect of Jane McDowell’s performance might you have changed?

    Nearly everything. She read well, but I found her a little boring and her accents were not very good at all. All the local Norfolk people were talking with West Country accents? And The Norwegian had a Arabic sound?


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, its not that sort of book. There is no humour to speak of, but that's not a bad thing.


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to getting the next book in series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Chippenham, United Kingdom
    4/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slowly got going"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Depends on the friend!!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Obviously our eponymous heroine.


    What about Jane McDowell’s performance did you like?

    Not sure about the performance. I thought the portrayal of Ruth was a little quiet, that perhaps her voice should be a little more forceful. The males characters were not terribly believable, however, as I became involved in the story I didn't notice the flaws in the performance as much.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Claire
    Tenbury Wells, United Kingdom
    3/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved the concept, loved the book."
    Where does The Crossing Places rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top or at least near the top.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Loved the archaeology (although there isn't loads) love the characters and look forwards to listening to more to see how they develop.


    What about Jane McDowell’s performance did you like?

    Yes yes yes, Jane's voices were great and realistic.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Archaeology meets crime thriller.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't wait for more

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    3/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable"

    An enjoyable detective story with some good twists and turns.
    Some of the accents were a bit off but still a good listen.
    I found this series through #6 being part of an offer but I'm looking forward to reading all of the books

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • RK
    Brighton, United Kingdom
    2/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful protagonist, sublime location"
    What did you like best about this story?

    Ruth was such a great character, relatable without being ordinary and the descriptions of the salt marshes were so atmospheric. I also very much liked the details about ancient history and archaeology which are subjects I know very little about so feel I learned from the book.


    What didn’t you like about Jane McDowell’s performance?

    The dreadful Norwegian accent. It's a shame because much of the narration was excellent it's just when she had to give Erik's dialogue it sounded more like a racist version of Indian than Norwegian. The other accents weren't that great either but less offensive.

    I would listen to books narrated by her again because descriptions and so forth were good but only if no accents were involved.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Very much so. The pace was brilliantly balanced between the meticulousness of archaological investigation and the urgency of crime so it would have worked in one go too.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Barbara
    Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom
    12/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "promising first in series"
    What did you like best about The Crossing Places? What did you like least?

    The setting and the characters I liked.
    I disliked the repeated references to the main character being fat, single and a cat owner. Must have been in every chapter. Why?


    Would you ever listen to anything by Elly Griffiths again?

    Yes. Reviews suggest the books get better. I like the setting and the theme so will consider them promising. I hope later novels will have less obvious outcomes.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Accents. Disliked generic northern and the Norfolk accent sounded more like generic west country.


    Was The Crossing Places worth the listening time?

    For its potential. The plot was predictable very early.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. Edwards
    Wrexham, Wales
    11/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Atmospheric mystery, beautifully written."

    The sense of place in this, the first of her Ruth Galloway novels, is incredible. I spent two years in North Norfolk and can feel the huge skies and the wide beaches as I read Elly Griffiths' books.
    Ruth is an interesting character: not a slim, beautiful fashionista, not perfect: very intelligent, very good at her job, very engaging. Her life comes through the mystery and I definitely wanted more when the book ended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Shetland, United Kingdom
    6/29/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rivetting! Great story, 1st class narrator!"
    What did you like most about The Crossing Places?

    Likeable & believable characters, fascinating plot. The perpetrator could have been any one of four, and I didn't guess which one til the end. It was full of twists and surprises, without gratuitous swearing or gore.


    What does Jane McDowell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    She was mesmerising! Her narration, along with a good plot, meant I couldn't put it down, and unlike some audiobooks, my mind did not wander onto other things.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rik
    Saffron Walden, United Kingdom
    6/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""Okay""
    Any additional comments?

    I could easily envision this as a made-for-TV Sunday evening thriller that everybody would sleep through. A bit by-the-numbers in plot and writing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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