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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 listeners say about The Crossing Places

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An atmospheric creepy mystery set in Saltmarsh

This engaging story is well written and totally captures the hauntingly lonely sea side life the main character has chosen for herself. She is a forensic archeologist working in the field, lecture hall and with the police as a solver of crime. Her work focuses on working out mysteries from the past and present. The story is heavy on nature, mythology, archeology and spookiness in general. I really enjoyed the narration and way the book unfolded. It held my interest-- as any good page turner should. As the first book in a series it bodes well for readers who enjoy crime stories with a dash of odd characters and brooding nature thrown in. But be aware--it is creepy!

107 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

60 people found this helpful

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Loved this book!

I've never been a fan of mysteries, but I loves the author's use of details to provide me with a great picture of the characters and places. LOVED IT. Am now reading the Janus Stone and enjoying it just as much.

48 people found this helpful

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Excellent mystery

I really enjoyed the plot and found the characters believable. The backdrop of the Norfolk salt marshes created a wonderful damp wind blown atmosphere and in my mind's eye I could see it's beauty and feel it. The narration by Jane McDowell was just right for me. An excellent mystery.

35 people found this helpful

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Great story; flawed narration

This is the first time I have listened to this author and this reader. It was an engrossing story, a wonderful sense of place, and great characters. And with one exception, the narrator was as good as the story. That exception was the dreadful Scandinavian accent that was totally unnecessary for the character: the descriptions of him were more than sufficient for you to see him as the Viking hippy character he was. But even with that jarring note, I loved this book.

32 people found this helpful

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Interesting Protagonist

Would you consider the audio edition of The Crossing Places to be better than the print version?

Yes. Narrator Jane McDowell was pitch perfect in capturing Ruth's voice.

Any additional comments?

Story a bit slow paced at first, but was an interesting view into the life of independent archaeology prof, Ruth Galloway. Is she contented or lonely? I still can't decide. Different worlds to explore here: archaeology and the desolate salt marshs Ruth calls home.

27 people found this helpful

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A decent new series

The story was good, the narration fair, overall I enjoyed the listen.

Not action packed or full of witty dialog, just a decent story line with relatable characters and good imagary.

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring, Boring, BORING!!!!

Absolutely nothing here to keep you from falling asleep! This was one of the most boring books I've listened to.... kept hoping SOMETHING would happen and it just never did. By about half way through, I could care less who did it and who did what to who. Without giving away too much of the 'story line' (if you even want to call it that), it seemed the author couldn't quite decide who to make the bad-guy..... so she spread it all around. Unlikable characters certainly didn't help things. To top it off, the narrator was awful - if she wants to give characters accents, she really needs to work on her abilities. I feel that I totally wasted a credit on this one.

16 people found this helpful

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Creepy pagan goings-on on the Norfolk mud flats

If you could sum up The Crossing Places in three words, what would they be?

Creepy. Suspenseful. Atmospheric.

What other book might you compare The Crossing Places to and why?

It reminded me a little of the Donna Leon series. Inspector Harry Nelson reminded me of Leon's Brunetti - both a little out of shape, gruff, brusque but deep thinkers. This novel had the same strong sense of place - not Venice obviously, but it makes you feel as though you really know the area of the east coast of England where the story is set.

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

No.

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

Yes I did - I gasped out loud at the ending.

Any additional comments?

Wonderfully creepy and mysterious. I listened to most of this book hiking or driving in bright California sunshine. I still felt as though I was stumbling about on a mud flat in the dark as the unseen riptide roared close by.

14 people found this helpful

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First Time and Hooked

What made the experience of listening to The Crossing Places the most enjoyable?

The excellent writing and character development. Ruth the main character, she is a strong women and yet flawed, as all people are, making her very realistic.

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

Well I did guess who the bad guy was half way through, but was kept enthralled by the plot all the same.

Any additional comments?

I am going to buy the second book now.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Joanna
  • 03-31-19

I had to stop

I gave up. The book is depressing. The main female character is obsessed with being 12 1/2 stone... it is brought up CONSTANTLY. Getting into a car, going to a meeting, getting dressed... etc.... ends with something to do with being 12 1/2 stone. It’s like an suicidal version of Bridget Jones diary but with a woman 20 years older. I had to stop.

72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adrian
  • 06-05-11

Crime and archaeology - what's not to like?!

This is the first of Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway novels I've read, and I'm very, very impressed! As a fan of Phil Rickman, and other pagan/paranormal storytellers, I loved the unusual location of the events - which is beautifully evoked. The plot is complex, but makes sense, and Ruth is a fully rounded, 'real' character - as is DCI Nelson. Although you might guess what happened, and who did it about half way through (the sudden arrival of chapters told from a different point of view is a sort of clue!), it's well worth sticking with the journey. There are already two more Ruth books (The Janus Stone - available from Audible - and The House at Sea's End - hopefully soon available!), and I look forward to reading/listening to both of them - and the others which I'm sure will come in the future!

The reading is well done - some good use of regional accents to deliniate the characters, and perfectly paced- recommended!

50 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Heli
  • 11-12-11

Gripping

I found the main character very easy to identify with, and was immersed in the story right from the beginning. All the other characters were colourful and interesting as well, and the unraveling of the mystery was paced so that I didn't have a chance to get bored along the way. The skillful narration brought all the places, characters and events very vividly before my mind's eye, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

44 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Gibson
  • 01-13-11

enjoyable crime hokum.

I personally enjoy history/religious/pagan based books I am a great fan of Phil Rickman's Merrily books. Being a science teacher I enjoyed the forensic bits. The forensic archeologist Ruth is a well rounded character who you quickly get to like. The story moves quickly along and although you guess whodonit about half way along it is enjoyable to see how it pans out and who becomes a suspect and the various twists and turns.

31 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 05-16-14

Interesting story!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to a friend, because it's a refreshing change from your standard 'detective inspector' or 'PI' angle.

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

I don't do spoilers...silly question!

What about Jane McDowell’s performance did you like?

She's not top league, but is a good steady female reader, without any annoying flaws or impediments. She's even a dab hand at dry wit!

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

Actually, there were some emotional moments...but, again, no spoilers!

Any additional comments?

I wish Audible would dispense with this silly question and answers process for writing reviews. Make it an option, so that if we want to write freely, we can.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Linda
  • 09-14-14

Archeological based who dun it

I can't quite make up my mind whether I have read this book a while ago (perhaps from the library as it's certainly not on my bookshelves) - the story did just seem a tad familiar. That would certainly explain why I spotted the bad guy quite early on. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this listen, it was exceptionally well read and I very much liked the Nelson and Ruth characters and relationship - something just a little bit different. Indeed I would agree with other reviewers that all of the characters were sound - as an aging hippy myself (albeit not an academically knowledgeable one) Eric and the guy with the purple cape were spot on. I believe this is the first in a series and I'm just going to look for the next one.

27 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr Chops
  • 10-03-15

easy listen

This is a well balanced book. Unlike the standard, hysterical central character battling relationship breakdown and drink issues which supposedly make them interesting whilst they also have to solve the case, Ruth is believable, realistic and likeable. She does still drink too much and have relationship issues but it is not overdone.
The plot and atmosphere move along nicely. If you read a lot of crime fiction you may guess the murderer which is a shame but it is still far better than the vast majority of the books available in this genre. Just the right number of characters and plot twists to make it interesting without it becoming a headache to follow. Cant stand other books where the author makes whole village potential suspects to keep you guessing, that is just lazy. So in summary - recommended.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matt
  • 01-10-12

I Dig This Book

This was a real punt: an author I had not heard of, and a review which put me off a little. It was certainly a worthwhile gamble in the end. Griffiths paints a vivid picture of the Norfolk coast and populates it with likeable andinteresting characters.

I am looking forward to the next to books, both already on my wishlist. If you like your crime thrillers with well-written and well-researched settings then give this a whirl.

17 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lotus
  • 02-17-14

Couldn't stop listening

What a great find this author has been, a totally fresh storyline
Very well written and the story unfolds and draws you in - lost most of yesterday, listening to this book, and now firmly on to the second book in the series.
Both Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway come across as being real people - almost the UK equivalent to Booth & Brennan, but without the gadgets and squints, and not wanting to spoil the storyline, an bot going to go into details.
I would have no problem recommending this to those of us who like a crime novel

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kirstine
  • 04-03-17

Interesting and gripping story

Elly Griffiths is a new author for me and on the strength of this novel will listen to more of her series featuring archeologist, Ruth Galloway. The characters are well-drawn, the East Anglian setting evocative and, though a detective novel, it is much more interesting as one learns a lot about archeology and the dating of bones.

The narrator is very good

14 people found this helpful

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  • LP
  • 05-17-15

great characters great story

I hadn't heard of Elly Griffiths but Im glad I have now. Ive listened to all her stories with Ruth the Archaeologist. Id recommend them to anyone who enjoys history and a respect of difference in how people manage their lives. With a healthy dollop of mystery and who dun nit makes these books a treat. Start with this one and follow the development of the characters.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mari
  • 05-20-14

Terrific Beginning to Series

Enjoyed this book so much that I have immediately ordered the second in the series. Wonderful characters, especially Ruth Galloway, who is definitely not your typical 'hero'. Narration was very good.
If this were a paperback you would call it a great summer read.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rymkervic
  • 10-16-18

How clever is this?

I do enjoy a story which is also an education and this is one of them. The story and lead characters are not unrealistic -the pace is very good.

I listened to this book on a murderous trek in Auckland traffic, from work and back, and found myself wanting to be in my car just to listen to the story.... and that's a first, let me tell you!

I love how the lead character has been portrayed ...shaped ever so well, from the parents, to the weight, l feel like throwing the author an Italian restaurant kiss with perfecto attached.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • emmoff
  • 05-28-15

Great setting, disappointing story

Great setting, but the story was one dimensional with a very obvious solution. Not many fleshed out characters either. Quite disappointing.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Vanessa Young
  • 01-13-17

Told in the present tense!

This is a good mystery: suspensful, evocative and well written. The heroine Ruth Galloway is an intelligent, professional unfussy woman whose lack of care about her appearance ( I do not think makeup is mentioned ONCE in the story) is refreshing to this reader. However, the story is told in the presnt tense and this is a little off putting and takes some it takes time to adjust. Jane McDowell, the narrator, has really improved over her performance in The Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kasia
  • 03-13-16

Crossing Places Elly Griffiths - great listen

Delighted to have found Elly Griffiths' Ruth Galloway novels. Great characters, atmospheric setting, archaeology, crime fiction rocks! Am devouring all Ruth's subsequent adventures.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. B C Murrill
  • 04-21-21

Interesting and different

I enjoyed this book. I appreciated that although it was a tough story , it wasn’t gory, nor did it gave constant swearing, which ruins a lot of otherwise good stories. Well done

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-08-20

Different

this was onl y a average book although i did finish it unsure about it. Story line different I what I listen to. Narration was the best part of the book

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bill
  • 06-21-20

Interesting tale Great imagery

Interesting storyline weaving forensic archaeology with modern day crime. Found the narration a bit heavy going by the end... could have been a bit lighter in parts to add a bit more vocal colour. But overall enthralled enough with characterisations and interlacing storylines to devour the whole book in one long DAY.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-09-20

Just right

Just the right length. Engaging story. It is worth the purchase. Zzzz zzzz zzzz. Excuse the junk characters. Had to get past the silly word limit.

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