Review: The Janus Stone By Elly Griffiths

Elly Griffiths, author of The Janus Stone, is the British writer of Ruth Galloway books, a unique series with a character very different from other crime fictions: She is a forensic archeologist. Elly’s interest in archaeology comes from her husband, Andrew, who gave up his city job to retrain as an archaeologist. She lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England, with her husband and two children.

In The Janus Stone, Dr. Ruth Galloway, head of Forensic Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk 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. DCI Harry Nelson would like to find out whether this is some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder. 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.

I enjoyed reading this book: The fact that Elly has mixed archeology as an angle in the story has made the book different from other crime fictions. Norfolk setting is interesting and as the reader is provided with many English geographical references this adds a refreshing feeling to the story. The author also has a nice humorous writing style. Even though the book is part of a series, the author provides enough backstory to keep the readers on track.

Elly Griffiths has great potential to be the author of a winning series. Her work is solid enough, interesting, and worthy of attention.

Our Rating: 3.5

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