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Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Janus Stone

The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths is an excellent spooky and atmospheric read. Set in Norfolk it features forensic archaeologist, Ruth Galloway. She is prickly, highly educated, overweight and pregnant with DCI Harry Nelson's child. At the start of the book she is debating when and if to tell him about the baby. She is also involved with two archaeological digs - one at Swaffham and one in Norwich. Nelson calls for her expertise when a headless skeleton of a child is found at the Norwich site.

Ruth's investigations soon put her in danger and she is unsure who to trust. Who is Max Gray and why does he want to be friends with her? He is in charge of the Swaffham site but he wants to know about the skeleton found in Norwich. Can Ruth trust him? Cathbad, the Druid, makes a welcome reappearance in this book as does Shona, Ruth's flaky friend.

Full of atmosphere, the Norfolk background comes vividly to life. Pagan and Roman religions are contrasted with modern Catholicism. Modern day evil is much to the fore. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and felt it was a worthy follow up to The Crossing Places. The characters are realistic and the climax on the Norfolk Broads is well done. I look forward to the next book in the series.

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