NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Friday, December 31, 2010

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths

Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit*, December 31, 2010

This review is from: The Janus Stone (Ruth Galloway) (Hardcover)

I knew when I opened the first page of this book that I should have read the first one in the Ruth Galloway mystery series -- The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway) -- so if you haven't read it, stop and remedy that now. This second book immediately made me wish I had "met" the characters previously so I could understand what led to Ruth's pregnancy and to know the relationship she had with her baby's father. That said, and even though her pregnancy takes up a lot of the novel, the book is really a mystery about the murder of a child, and how that child's headless skeleton comes to lie underneath the doorway of an old mansion. Who is the girl and how did she end up there?
Ruth Galloway is 40ish, unmarried, and a slightly overweight forensic archeologist. She is called in as a consultant when bones are found during the demolition of a large, old house (once an orphanage) that is being converted into apartments. Joined by other colleages -- Max and Cathbad -- Ruth begins to assist Detective Police Inspector Harry Nelson in the investigation. The more she delves into the case, the more trouble she has. Who is afraid of what she might find out and how far is that person willing to go to stop her!?

Although the story is not what I would call fast paced, it's the characters and their interactions and dialog that make the book interesting. I really like that the protagonist is a strong, intelligent, and independent middle aged woman. Her friends are interesting and the archelogocial details are fascinating.

I think most who enjoy forensic mystery stories will like this novel -- but be sure to read them in order as I didn't think this one worked well as a stand alone!

A solid 3 1/2 stars.

*Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit = Everything changes but nothing is destroyed.

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