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THE JANUS STONE by Elly Griffiths Kirkus Star


by Elly Griffiths

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-23744-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

A forensic archaeologist’s murder investigation puts her and her unborn child in mortal danger.

Ruth Galloway is intelligent, independent, overweight and pregnant. She has not yet told DCI Nelson that she fell pregnant after the one night of stress-relieving passion stemming from their partnership in another murder case. Ruth is called to a building site where bones have been discovered in the wreckage of a mansion built on Roman ruins, a site in the process of being turned into luxury apartments by Spens and Company. The body is that of a girl whose head is missing. Nelson has the task of digging into the history of the house, formerly a Catholic children’s home, looking for clues. An interview with the priest who ran it turns up the story of a brother and sister who went missing and were never found. Assuming that the murdered child is the missing girl, Nelson is amazed when forensic evidence shows that the two must be different, and even more astonished when he realizes the Spens family used to live in the house. Already dealing with morning sickness, disapproving parents and the knowledge that Nelson is married with two girls of his own, Ruth starts to get cryptic threats from an unknown source. In fact, far too many people are not what they seem in this labyrinthine case.

Ruth’s second appearance (The Crossing Places, 2009) is an enthralling page-turner that delights in complex characters.