BOOKWORM: Emily Griffiths' 'The Crossing Places' a diverting mystery

Kathleen Duncan

June 19, 2013 at 1:19 a.m.

I read "The Crossing Places" by Elly Griffiths in one fell swoop after a sleepless night, a two-hour drive and an almost undignified sprint to a plane at the Austin airport. I tumbled into my seat with great relief shortly after arriving at the gate, curled up and began to read. I knew a plane ride would be a perfect time to treat my sleep-deprived brain to a light mystery.

(It's always my favorite part of traveling by plane - all that time to just sit and read, read, read. It's bloody glorious.)

Ruth Galloway is a professor of forensic archeology who lives at the end of the Earth, or so it seems. She is a solitary woman who welcomes the isolation and endless watery vistas of Saltmarsh. Her only real company is two feline companions and the sounds of the wind on empty evenings.

Galloway spends her days teaching students about great archeological discoveries at the local university, so it is only right that she is destined to uncover one or two of her own.

Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson recruits Galloway to assist in a murder investigation when bones are discovered nearby in the bird sanctuary. Though the bones are not of the child the detective is seeking, Galloway becomes irreversibly involved in his investigation for not one but two missing little girls.

There are letters full of cryptic clues. There are dark and stormy nights coupled with suspicious misdeeds. There are discoveries. There are betrayals.

"The Crossing Places" is a predictable but enjoyable trek through a marsh-bordered small town that mixes mystery and romance.

You may guess pretty early on who the killer might be, but then again, you might not. I was hoping it would be the cats, but alas, they were, unfortunately, just cats.

Despite the author's choice not to harness the evil that could lie within feline companions, it was still a diverting mystery. And should you need to refresh yourself with a little mind vacation, Griffiths' first novel in the Galloway series may be just the ticket.



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