When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone in a remote area called Saltmarsh near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants – not quite earth, not quite sea.
When a child's bones are found on a desolate beach nearby, Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson calls Galloway for help. Nelson thinks he has found the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing ten years ago. Since her disappearance he has been receiving bizarre letters about her, letters with references to ritual and sacrifice.
The bones actually turn out to be two thousand years old, but Ruth is soon drawn into the Lucy Downey case and into the mind of the letter writer, who seems to have both archaeological knowledge and eerie psychic powers. Then another child goes missing and the hunt is on to find her. As the letter writer moves closer and the windswept Norfolk landscape exerts its power, Ruth finds herself in completely new territory – and in serious danger.
THE CROSSING PLACES marks the beginning of a captivating new crime series featuring an irresistible heroine.
Ruth Galloway is called in to investigate when builders, demolishing a large old house in Norwich to make way for a housing development, uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway – minus the skull. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? DCI Harry Nelson would like to find out – and fast. It turns out the house was once a children's home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the home. Father Hennessey tells him that two children did go missing from the home forty years before – a boy and a girl. They were never found. When carbon dating proves that the child's bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is trying very hard to put her off the scent by frightening her half to death…
Ruth Galloway has just returned from maternity leave and is struggling to juggle work and motherhood. When a team from the University of North Norfolk, investigating coastal erosion, finds six bodies buried at the foot of the cliff, she is immediately put on the case. DCI Nelson is investigating, but Ruth finds this more hindrance than help – Nelson is the father of her daughter, Kate. Still, she remains professional and concentrates on the case at hand. Forensic tests prove that the bodies are from Southern Europe, killed sixty years ago. Police Investigations unearth records of Project Lucifer, a wartime plan to stop a German invasion. A further discovery reveals that members of the Broughton Sea's End Home Guard took a 'blood oath' to conceal some deadly wartime secret. The more information they uncover, the more elusive any explanation becomes. When a visiting German reporter is killed, Ruth and Nelson realise that someone is still alive who will kill to keep the secret of Broughton Sea's End's war years. Can they discover the truth in time to stop another murder?
It is Halloween night, and the local museum in King's Lynn is preparing for an unusual event – the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the museum's curator lying dead beside the coffin. It is only a matter of time before she and DI Nelson cross paths once more, as he is called in to investigate. Soon the museum's wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but Nelson isn't convinced. When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth's friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the mystery of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths, and their own survival.