The Crossing Places is set on the Norfolk Coast in England, near a salt marsh - a marshy area between solid land and the ocean. This particular salt marsh has many secrets.
Forensic Archaeology Professor Ruth Galloway loves the marsh and it's isolation. She participated in a dig on the marsh ten years ago that uncovered an ancient henge. She has chosen to make her home on the lonesome wetland.
When DCI Harry Nelson is called in to investigate what looks to be child's bones discovered in the marsh, he asks Ruth for help, given her expertise. When the bones are proven to be over 200o years old, Harry is disappointed. He was hoping they were the remains of a child named Lucy, who disappeared over ten years ago. No trace of her was ever found and the case has haunted Harry ever since. But when another child is taken, it seem the marsh may hold even more secrets.
Griffith's language and descriptions capture perfectly the barren beauty of the marsh. (It made me want to visit this area) Ruth herself is an wonderful character. She isn't a cookie cutter mystery heroine. She is highly intelligent, but unsure of herself in social situations. She worries about her weight, but at the same time doesn't give a damn. She lives by herself with her cats. Ruth interests Harry -
"Like all forceful people (he calls it forceful rather than bullying), he prefers people who stand up to him, but in his job that doesn't happen ofter. People either despise him or kowtow to him. Ruth had done neither. She had looked him in the face, coolly, as an equal. He thinks he's never met anyone, any woman quite as sure of themselves as Ruth Galloway. "
The interpersonal relationship between Ruth and Harry provides an intriguing subplot. Populated by curious and enigmatic supporting characters, this is a mystery that is character driven. The plot is excellent as well and involved enough red herrings to keep me guessing until almost the end. But it is Ruth and Harry that intrigued me. The ending has been left open for further books featuring these two and I, for one, will be looking forward to it. I'm thrilled to discover a mystery author with a different take on the genre.