Griffiths, Elly - 'The Janus Stone'
I have been really looking forward to this, the second in a series featuring Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, based in East Anglia. The first book, THE CROSSING PLACES, was a delight and I have to say I wasn't disappointed with this one.
Ruth is called in when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, find the bones of a child beneath a doorway. The skull is missing, so is it a ritual sacrifice or just plain murder? DCI Harry Nelson needs to know. When it turns out that the house was once a children's home everyone begins to wonder what went on there. Nelson tracks down the priest who ran the home and finds that two children did go missing there years ago.
Harry and Ruth have to find out how old the bones are and trawl through the old files to find out who was involved in a crime that happened many years before. However it seems that not everyone wants the truth to come out and someone is trying to frighten Ruth off.
What a fantastic book this is. The characters of Ruth and Harry are so clear and believable. Ruth in particular is extremely engaging, full of self-doubt but battling on regardless. Harry is a most unusual fictional detective, not given to talking much, a man with a heart. I love the relationship between these two. But the secondary characters here are no stereotypes either, from the wonderful Cathbad to the saintly Father Hennessey all the supporting cast are finely drawn.
Plot-wise it will keep you guessing, and the use of present tense throughout means that the action is very immediate. You feel as though you're right there with them. The tension never falls and it builds to a fantastically gripping climax. This is a real tour-de-force and I just can't wait for more.
Read another review of THE JANUS STONE.
Pat Austin, England