How are you? Taking your vitamin-C? Staying home; staying healthy? As a lifelong introvert and avid reader, I feel like I’m well-prepared for isolation. Which is a good thing since I live in WA State, the epicenter of the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak.
Just two weeks ago we were enjoying a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We’d planned the trip about a year earlier, and at the time of our departure things hadn’t developed enough to prevent the trip. We had a wonderful vacation, with perfect warm weather, delicious meals, beach-time, swimming every day for the kids, and LOTS of hand washing. It was glorious.
Of course, things have really changed in the days since our trip. Since getting back, we’ve isolated ourselves pretty completely. Other than the occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, my little family is staying home. No schools, no parks, no playdates. My husband is working remotely, and we’re trying homeschooling for the first time. We still see our friends, we just do it virtually through Skype and Zoom.
Knowing how devastating the COVID-19 epidemic is, it is a weird sensation to share beachy book pics and write reviews of my vacation reads. Then again, the world could use some vacation vibes right now. So if you’re staying home, looking for ways to keep your spirits high, I offer you a few, brief, beachy reviews (one today, and two more coming soon).
Kicking things off is the first book I read on vacation: The Crossing Place by Elly Griffiths. This is the first book (total of at least 4 in the series so far) in the Ruth Galloway series. Protagonist Ruth Galloway is an archeologist living on the edge of a (fictional) saltmarsh. At low tied winding paths lead around marshy puddles going out to the sea, but at high tied the sea rushes in creating swirling, foamy pools. It is easy to fall into one of the pools and drown at high tide, so the terrain is dangerous. For the cautious archeologist though, the marsh can reveal ancient ruins and occasionally a perfectly preserved body dating back as far as the Iron Age. Ruth lives in a little house overlooking the saltmarsh, with her two cats and only a couple of neighbors. When a body is found on the marsh, Ruth is called by DCI Nelson to consult on the case. He hopes the remains will break open the unsolved case of a missing child which has haunted his career. As Ruth helps with the investigation, another local child goes missing. Can Ruth and Nelson stop the killer before the killer stops them?
I started this book on the flight down to Mexico, and it was the perfect choice for the plane. It was a quick read, and easily able to hold my attention despite many in-flight distractions. I barely noticed how long we were in the air thanks to this book. On the other hand, it was rather predictable. I spotted the killer quickly. There were enough suspicious characters though to keep me reading to the end to determine if my deduction was correct.
I really liked the setting of this novel. The saltmarsh setting was not only picturesque, it added quite a lot of tension to the plot. It was a naturally dangerous setting, with a fun archeological sub-plot. I also enjoyed the characters. Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are somewhat stock characters; not the first novel to pair a detective whose career is stalling with an amateur sleuth able to discover the key to unlocking the case. However, the were well written stock characters.
All in all, this is a solid, suspenseful read. It’s a great choice for a vacation book. It will hold your attention without requiring a high degree of concentration.