Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Ann Cleeves has written a few different detective series. I came late to her work and later still to the Vera Stanhope series (dramatised for ITV as Vera).


There are six novels so far in this series. They are:


The Crow Trap (1999)


Telling Tales (2005)


Hidden Depths (2007)


Silent Voices (2011)


The Glass Room (2012)


Harbour Street (2014)


I've listened to The Crow Trap, Hidden Depths and Silent Voices. Vera Stanhope is a fat, unattractive, middle-aged Detective Inspector in the Northumbrian Police and the books are set in and around Tyneside and Northumbria. The character of Vera is particularly well done, a classic flawed detective full of her own problems, difficulties with handling certain people, reliant on her Sergeant. You know, the usual.


What I like about Ann Cleeves' books is the time and attention she gives to the "guest stars". She allows a lot of time for them and often the police are absent from the story for whole chapters. In The Crow Trap, Vera doesn't appear until nearly half-way into the story because so much time is spent scene-setting. It works really well.


Highly recommended.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not read any of these books, but have enjoyed the TV series.

I suppose i shouldn't let myself be put off by the authors name :sorry:

Are you thinking of Ann of Cleeves and Henry V111 or some other person.


I really enjoy Ann Cleeves, particularly the ones with the Scottish detective with the Spanish surname on one of the Hebridean islands. I've read a couple of the Stanhope ones but was a little put off by the description of her, o.k. I like my heroines to be lovely and smart. Not very politically correct, shall work on being less judgemental (good New Year's resolution). :)

Edited by momac
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Are you thinking of Ann of Cleeves and Henry V111 or some other person.


Yes, Henry's Anne of Cleves.

I have the same problem with actress Jane Seymour and magician David Copperfield. There are others of the same ilk that  I don't immediately recall.

It just seems like a cheap way to call attention to oneself, even if talent becomes evident later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OK - I just discovered The Crow Trap on a pile of unread books, so to show contrition for my silly name prejudice it is to be my next read. I did see the TV episode based on this book, so I will probably recognise large chunks of it, but am hoping it will still hold some surprises.


My only other worry is that at 550 pages it will a bit heavy for my weak wrists, but it wouldn't be the first 2nd-hand paperback I've split  into 2 or 3 sections for my reading comfort

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Enjoying this very much.

I'm almost 50% through it, and Vera Stanhope has just made her first appearance. Her first acknowledged appearance, that is. Being familiar with Vera from the TV series I thought I spotted her slipping anonymously across the page a couple of times earlier on.


The story so far has been told in three separate voices, those of three young women staying in a remote cottage on National Park land to do an Environmental Impact Survey in advance of a planning application for quarrying in the Park. The leader, Rachael, being the first to arrive, is the one to discover the body of a neighbouring farmer, who has chosen the cottage's log shed as the site for her suicide by hanging. Rachael has been to the cottage many times before on similar work, and considered Bella (the suicide) as a friend - but not, it seems, as close a friend as she thought.

The other two members of the group, Anne and Grace, arrive later so their narratives are about their own lives and interests, which as their accounts unfold, reveal unacknowledged connections with the area and with people concerned with the quarry project - for and against.


A second death in the vicinity brings Inspector Stanhope on the scene, and almost the first thing she does is reveal her own historical links with the area and the cottage.


I am looking forward to seeing how this develops!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Happily the only thing I had remembered from the TV episode based on this book was about Vera's father being an illegal bird's egg collector, and him taking Vera as a girl to help him rob the nests, which was not something that 'gave away' the ending.

None of the plot was familiar, other than the wild landscape, so I was kept guessing as clues and red-herrings were abundant.


The Crow Trap of the title is a device using a captured crow to draw another into a trap, to be dispatched later by the gamekeeper. and there was one set near the area being surveyed by the women. By remaining in their isolated cottage while the killer remained uncaught they were providing Vera with a decoy, like the captive crow.

I figured out who had been responsible for the murder, and for what purpose, but I hadn't picked up on the clues as to the motive behind that purpose. - That's bit convoluted, but I don't want to give any spoilers.

It was a good read, with lots of suspects, and the women often in situations that might be exposing them to danger.


Not sure about Vera herself, I liked her attitude and methods, but I'm not so sure about the sandals and muddy feet  - that seemed a bit weird. I think Brenda Blethyn's Vera wore sensible shoes, or boots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 years later...

There are now 8 books in the Vera series and one due later this year :


 1. The Crow Trap (1999)
  2. Telling Tales (2005)
  3. Hidden Depths (2007)
  4. Silent Voices (2011)
  5. The Glass Room (2012)
  6. Harbour Street (2014)
  7. The Moth Catcher (2015)
  8. The Seagull (2017)
  9. The Darkest Evening (2020)


I have just finished the first book having been brought to it by the TV series which I thought was excellent.  Since the series is fresh in my mind I do remember The Crow Trap and the TV episode is not like the book. Meg has summarised the book very well so I'm not going to repeat that but I didn't guess the killer and Vera's background was familiar form the TV.


Highly reocmmended

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Brenda Blethyn who plays Vera was interviewed the other day and said that they were getting ready to film the next series, which is obviously on hold now.  The only one which I've both read and seen is the latest book The Seagull, and the TV episode was sort of similar but also quite a bit different to the book.


Good to see there's a new book on the way, thanks for that info.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Similar Content

    • By Minxminnie
      Has anyone else read any of the Shetland books?

      I've now read the first three, though I ended up reading them out of order. I loved the TV series, but I'm not too sure about the books. The characterisation is good, and I like the insights into life in Shetland, but I find the stories a wee bit far fetched.
      I suppose it's just difficult to dream up reasons for more than one murder in a place like Shetland!

      I rarely say this, but I think the TV series improved on the books.
  • Create New...