Buried Secrets

Many mystery novels feature figurative and sometimes literal skeletons in the closet, but there are a number of titles where the skeletons are out of the closet and into the ground. The Crossing Places is one of those, and it's a good mystery in a brand new series by Elly Griffiths. Ruth Galloway is a late thirty-something, overweight archaeology professor teaching at a new university in the county of Norfolk, England. When the bones of a young girl show up in the salt-marsh close to her home, DCI Harry Nelson asks for her help in figuring out how old they are. Turns out, they belong to an Iron Age girl, but it's not long before a much more recent skeleton appears. Are these the bones of the girl who went missing a decade ago?  Nelson's desperate to solve that mystery and help the parents get on with their lives. The ending is a bit melodramatic, but I liked the book and especially the atmospheric setting and unusual character of Ruth. I'm looking forward toThe Janus Stone, the second in the series coming out in the fall of 2010. For two other mysteries with forensic anthropological and archaeological bents, read Haunted Ground by Erin Hart and Old Bones by Aaron Elkins, one of my favorite mysteries ever.