The Janus Stone: Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries 2 by Elly Griffiths

A gruesome discovery at an old children’s home lays bare terrible secret’s from Norwich’s past in the second gripping mystery for Dr Ruth Galloway.

‘The setting is enticingly atmospheric . . . a really intelligent murder story’ Independent

Dr Ruth Galloway’s forensic skills are called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child – minus the skull – beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? Ruth links up with DCI Harry Nelson to investigate.

The house was once a children’s home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing 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 desperate to put her off the scent by frightening her to death…

My Review

When a detective story begins with the discovery of the skeleton of a child beneath the floor of a former children’s home, the reader and the police instantly make assumptions of guilt, but this building site has also unearthed Roman remains so forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway has once more been consulted by DCI Harry Nelson.  Happy that she is still able to conceal her pregnancy she is eager to help but her assistance in dating the remains puts her in danger. Unpleasant gifts are left for her and she is attacked more than once.  Luckily, she has a team of protective guardians; Harry Nelson, the father of her child, Cathbad, the eccentric Druid leader and Lab technician, and newly arrived archaeologist, Max.

There is a complex plot involving the wealthy builder’s family, events at the Children’s home when two children disappeared and how Ruth deals with the prospect of single motherhood while dealing with the disapproval of her strongly religious parents.  Meanwhile Nelson’s Catholic upbringing makes facing up to his responsibilities as a married man and father of an illegitimate child very difficult and meeting a priest whom everyone trusts, in the course of his duties, adds to his confusion.

I enjoyed this volume even more than the first book in the series. Ruth has matured and her relationships with others shows deep understanding and empathy. There is a gradual build up of tension as she becomes increasingly threatened culminating in a thrilling concluding scene.

The Janus Stone on Amazon UK

My review of The Crossing Places The Ruth Galloway Mysteries Book 1

Published by lizannelloyd

Love history, reading, researching and writing. Articles published in My Family History and other genealogy magazines.

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