It’s been only a few months since archaeologist Ruth Galloway found herself entangled in a missing persons case, barely escaping with her life. But when construction workers demolishing a large old house in Norwich uncover the bones of a child beneath a doorway—minus its skull—Ruth is once again called upon to investigate. Is it a Roman-era ritual sacrifice, or is the killer closer at hand?
Ruth and Detective Harry Nelson would like to find out—and fast. When they realize the house was once a children’s home, they track down the Catholic priest who served as its operator. Father Hennessey reports that two children did go missing from the home forty years before—a boy and a girl. They were never found. When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is trying very hard to put her off the trail by frightening her, and her unborn child, half to death.
The Janus Stone is a riveting follow-up to Griffiths’s acclaimed The Crossing Places.
When a child's headless skeleton turns up during an archeological dig in Griffiths's compelling second Ruth Galloway mystery (after 2010's The Crossing Places), Ruth's determination that the bones are of recent origin spurs her special friend, Det. Chief Insp. Harry Nelson, to investigate the Catholic orphanage run by Fr. Patrick Hennessey that once occupied the Norfolk, England, site. Two children disappeared from the orphanage in 1973, though Ruth's study of the bones suggests that the murderer might have ties not to the orphanage but to the site's Roman's origins. Complicating matters are her pregnancy the result of a one-night stand with Nelson in Crossing and an escalating series of dangerous pranks meant to scare her off the case. Griffiths nimbly weaves the mythological aspects of her story particularly the Roman god Janus, who represents doorways as well as beginnings and endings with the complicated life of her feisty heroine.
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The Janus Stone
The characters in this series are likable, interesting, and unusual. I find their personal stories and interactions more interesting than the murder plots. Ruth has a tendency to wander into danger when no one else with any sense at all would go, which is frustrating, but the overall book is so entertaining that it is easy to overlook.