My mother introduced me to detective stories when I was, I think, around 11 years old. She’d borrowed Agatha Christie’s A Murder is Announced from the local library and passed it on to me as she thought I’d enjoy it. It was the first time I’d read a story where things were discovered through reasoning rather than by accident or were planned, and I found the concept thrilling. I also rather enjoyed the book!
Having found detective books I read lots more Christie, being captured by Poirot in particular, then branched out into John Creasey (the Inspector Roger West books) Dorothy L Sayers (the Lord Peter Winsey books) and many others. In later years Ian Rankin hugely impressed me by the sheer quality of the writing in the Rebus books.
Then, shortly after we moved to the Fens we were browsing in Toppings in Ely and under “Local authors” saw a book called The Crossing Places written by someone called Elly Griffiths. The premise looked interesting so we bought it. It was about a female archaeologist named Ruth Galloway who lecturers at the university of Norfolk in Kings Lynn who is consulted by the local police inspector in regard to some child’s bones that have been discovered. It’s an unusual book with a very human cast of characters and I enjoyed it. And as subsequent novels in the series have been published we’ve bought them; The Chalk Pit is the latest.
The things that marks these books as different is partly the love of place – they are set in and around the salt marshes of Norfolk. But another strong attraction is the way the lives of the people involved – Ruth herself, the local police and the other local people who are in the books – are all slowly developing as themselves and with each other. They are growing in popularity and if you like the idea of a police procedural with a difference then I suspect you’ll enjoy the Ruth Galloway books.