The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths

There’s been an interruption to my scheduled reading plans because I have been stressed at work and needed pure escape. I haven’t read a good British mystery in a while and when I saw a review of this on Book Group of One it sounded like just the respite I needed. I plunged into it last week and shoved the other books I’d planned to read under the bed so they’d be out of mind. But I think they would have been out of mind anyway because this mystery completely absorbed my interest!

Ruth Galloway, the main character in The Crossing Places, is my soul sister. She’s in her late thirties, overweight, single, has two cats and keeps to herself for the most part. I instantly identified with her. She’s a forensic archaeologist in a desolate marsh area near Norfolk. When the novel opens she’s been summoned by the local police force to examine some bones that have been found on the marsh. Those bones turn out to be from the Iron Age, but she proves herself useful and is soon after asked to consult on the case of a missing girl and begins to develop a relationship with married DCI Harry Nelson. As the case, and her involvement in it, intensifies, the suspense accelerates and Ruth finds herself pursued by a killer. A blockbuster ending in the dark and dangerous marsh had me flipping the pages to find out if she’d survive and if the killer would be revealed.

This is an engrossing, solid mystery. I’m taken with both Ruth and DCI Nelson and will continue to read the series if only to see where their relationship ends up. The snippets of historical details that twist through the narrative are a treat for those of us who have fantasies of being archaeologists and the setting is appropriately dark and moody. And that is all that I needed to keep me entertained and distracted while my brain melts with worry.

What do you read when you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown?