'Ruth Galloway is a captivating amateur sleuth--an inspired creation.'-Louise Penny, winner of the Anthony and Agatha awards From THE CROSSING PLACES When the hole is almost free from water, Ruth's heart starts to beat faster. Carefully she scoops out another beakerful of water and only then reaches into the mud and exposes something that is pressed flat against the dark soil. 'Well?' Nelson is leaning eagerly over her shoulder. 'It's a body, ' says Ruth hesitantly, 'but...' Slowly she reaches for her towel. She mustn't rush things. She has seen entire excavations ruined because of one moment's carelessness. So, with Nelson grinding his teeth beside her, she gently lifts away the sodden soil. A hand, slightly clenched, wearing a bracelet of what looks like grass, lies exposed in the trench. 'A winning debut...The first-rate characters and chilling story are entrancing from start to finish.'-'Kirkus Reviews,' starred review When she's not digging up bones or other ancient objects, quirky, tart-tongued archaeologist Ruth Galloway lives happily alone with her cats in a remote area of England called the Saltmarsh, 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, leters with references to ritual and sacrifice, some even including quotes from the Bible and Shakespeare. The bones 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 an exciting new crime series featuring an irresistible heroine. Forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway is in her late thirties. She lives happily alone with her two cats in a bleak, remote area near Norfolk, land that was sacred to its Iron Age inhabitants not quite earth, not quite sea. But her routine days of digging up bones and other ancient objects are harshly upended when a child s bones are found on a desolate beach. Detective Chief Inspector Nelson calls Galloway for help, believing they are the remains of Lucy Downey, a little girl who went missing a decade ago and whose abductor continues to taunt him with bizarre letters containing references to ritual sacrifice, Shakespeare, and the Bible. Then a second girl goes missing and Nelson receives a new letter exactly like the ones about Lucy. Is it the same killer? Or a copycat murderer, linked in some way to the site near Ruth s remote home? '