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Silent Voices (Vera Stanhope Book 4) [Kindle Edition]

Ann Cleeves
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Silent Voices is the fourth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - now the major ITV detective drama Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn.

When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. Then Vera spots ligature marks around the victim's throat - death is never that simple . . .

Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again, working with Sergeant Joe Ashworth to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands of the case, death has never made Vera feel so alive.

The duo investigates the victim's past and discovers a shocking case, involving a young child. Probing the secretive community, they try to stop a killer in the present who can't seem to let go of the past . . .

Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are The Crow Trap, Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, The Glass Room and The Moth Catcher.

Books In This Series (6 Books)
Complete Series

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    'Silent Voices is a more traditional crime novel that blends a classic whodunit with a psychological element. Detective Vera Stanhope is a remarkable creation, and her relationship with her sidekick, Joe Ashworth, is at the heart of the story. It shows how the death of a child can have a long-reaching effect on all concerned - parents, siblings and social workers.' --Bookseller

    'The novel is a sensible, straightforward, satisfying police procedural, supplying a fair variety of plausible suspects, motives and clues, in a recognisable middle England.'
    --Literary Review

    'All in all, this welcome addition to the Vera Stanhope series is a showcase for the strengths of the author in getting under the skin of apparently ordinary people, and conveying the intense passions that have simmered for years beneath an apparently normal surface.' --eurocrime

    'DI Vera Stanhope and sidekick Joe Ashworth struggle to establish a connection between a woman strangled in her gym and the death of a child. Compelling.' --Woman and Home

    'Cleeves is excellent not only on the main character, but on the mixture of exasperation and respect she evokes in others. Combined with intricate plotting, this makes for a compulsive read.' --The Independent

    'Ann Cleeves is a skilful technician, keeping our interest alive and building slowly up to the denouement. Her easy use of language and clever story construction make her one of the best natural writers of detective fiction.' --Sunday Express

    'Cleeves weaves an absorbingly cunning mystery and fans of Vera, the messy, overweight, man-less heroine of this crime series, will soon have a face to put to her, as the actress Brenda Blethyn take on her endearing charactering a forthcoming television series, Vera, based on the books.' --Daily Mail

    'Silent Voices is the forth outing for Ann Cleeves's overweight, eczema-ridden middle-aged Vera Stanhope. Vera is brusque, with "a chip on her shoulder the size of Keilder Forest", but she excels because her ordinariness grants her access to everyday lives... The bluntness that bodes well for the ITV adaption...' --Financial Times

    'Watch out for Ann Cleeves, author of Silent Voices. Snapped up by ITV, her creation, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, is the new Frost, played by Brenda Blethyn' --Red magazine

    'Ornery DI Vera Stanhope - soon to grace our small screens in the form of Brenda Blethyn as ITV's Vera - has her work cut out for her in Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves. Kicking off with a steamy opener as Stanhope discovers a dead body in a sauna... Stanhope enjoys being a bit of a bossy-boots but is a good sort really, relying heavily on her charming sidekick, Joe Ashworth: their ruminations over a fireside pint are requisite to their sleuthing success...' --Time Out

    Book Description

    The dead cannot speak . . .

    Product details

    More About the Author

    Ann Cleeves worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of 'Murder Squad', working with other northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black . Ann lives in North Tyneside. Her Vera Stanhope series is currently being turned into a major ITV production to be released in Autumn 2010.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Vera Stanhope - the best so far 1 Feb. 2011
    By hbw VINE VOICE
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Jenny Lister was perfect - a caring mother, a committed and principled social worker and, when DI Vera Stanhope opens the door to the steam room at a fashionable health club, perfectly dead. Vera doesn't believe in perfect people - and she's not that keen on social workers.

    The investigation oscillates between the semi-private world of the health club and the Tyne Valley village of Barnard Bridge, where Jenny lived. Both communities are hives of gossip, rumour, snobbery and infighting, but is there anything that would justify murder? And is there any connection with the death of six year old Elias Jones, the boy Social Services was supposed to protect?

    This is by far the best Vera Stanhope novel to date, with the same strengths and none of the weaknesses. Vera is now well established as the sharp-witted, sharp-tongued detective who is not above using Miss Marple's tactic of a cosy chat over a nice cup of tea ("if you're putting the kettle on, pet"), even if she would prefer whiskey.

    Once again, Cleeves maintains a brisk pace, using a well crafted blend of narrative and dialogue. She has a strong sense of place and a feel for the way in which landscape shapes the lives of the inhabitants of England's most sparsely populated county. This is used to dramatic effect in a final race against time when even the forces of nature seem determined to thwart the police as they close in on the killer.

    If you haven't read any of the other Vera Stanhope novels, you could do worse than start with "Silent Voices".
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    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Silent Voices 28 Dec. 2011
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    This has been my favourite 'Vera' so far. Wonderfully real characters as usual and no way of guessing whodunnit. The interweaving lives of a small community with the coincidences and chance-meetings are absolutely believable and tantalising. And Vera,a bit more sympathetic in this one I thought, and a bit more appreciative of her team, but not so much that we lose the curmudgeonly reluctance to actually praise them. The usual red herrings of wierdos are cheek-by-jowl with long-buried secrets and skeletons in cupboards, with Vera eventually teasing all the threads into rather a sad conclusion that leaves you thinking about the characters left behind.
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    20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Vera, a very unorthodox detective 24 Mar. 2012
    By Jane Baker VINE VOICE
    Had I known that this was about missing children it would not have been my choice of reading - a subject I tend to steer clear of. Yet once I had begun reading I was gripped. Vera is a strange woman and a strange detective with many "issues" emanating from her poor relationship with Hector her father and her own guilt and Hector's resentment that she is alive and her mother dead in childbirth. Hector is alongside her most of the time. She is unable to free herself from him and his cruelty with birds especially is a constant recurrence with her. That said her concentration on crime-solving, whilst not totally attentive, brings results with the help of the long-suffering Joe Ashworth. This story opens when Vera, an unlikely member of a gym club, finds the body of Jenny Lister, a social worker. Vera has no time for social workers but becomes involved with another, Connie, and thus begins so many twists and inter-relationships resulting in an unexpected denouement. I just love the way she "pets" everyone. Only someone so non-pc could get away with it. She's lovely. So sad she's never had a man - or a woman. Love has eluded her.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
    Format:Kindle Edition
    Ann Cleeves has a fine feel for the dynamics of families and often writes about the consequences of family breakdowns. "Silent Voices" fits into that category--maybe bringing definition to it. Estimable protagonist Vera Stanhope, Detective Inspector in a northern English county, often deals with her own family issues as she dives into a case involving the murder of a social worker who is connected to the much-publicized killing of a child under the supervision of her services office. As DI Stanhope's investigation of the woman's murder broadens, a moderately large cast of walking wounded characters is added to the mix, each with some motive for the crime. A second murder removes one of the suspects, but doesn't immediately resolve the first killing. Resolution eventually comes down to the mysteries and pitfalls of parenthood and their potential for invisible damage to hapless offspring.

    This is a deftly written story with characters that outweigh the storyline in importance and interest. The intrepid Vera is onstage virtually every page, and while her own preoccupations with her less than stellar appearance are close to excessive here, her integrity and humanity compensate for the frequent self-absorption. This a good read with only the occasional red herring/false note to annoy fans of the genre. Cleeves is a terrific writer who is definitely up there with the best in the field.
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    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars Pet 24 July 2014
    Format:Kindle Edition
    I first met Vera Stanhope in the television series, 'Vera', played by Brenda Blethyn. I liked this series annoy because of the bedraggled Vera, who is large and obese, and knows it, and doesn't give a darn. She has her trusted colleagues who follow her ,and who know she is the best detective they will ever work with, even if she is annoying at times.

    In this novel, Vera has been told by her new physician she must exercise or some unwanted, awful thing will befall her. She knows it is the right thing to do and joins an exercise club. She swims, and on this day decides to have a steam bath. Instead she finds a dead woman in the steam bath, and her new case begins. The woman, a social worker, has led somewhat of an exemplary life, but there are many other characters who knew her who have unsavory pasts or things to hide.

    I like Ann Cleeves writing, the characters come to life and are very believable. . Vera seems to be able to run her investigation as she pleases, which does not seem to be the real life of a detective. Vera is very clever, she knows how to get under the skin of the people she talks to, and she knows when to be kind and motherly. She calls everyone, Pet, which conveys several meanings, and you have to be able to pick the one that fits the situation. The conclusion is smartly done, and since much of Vera's life revolves around food, the final chapter is at the Inn where thevmurder took place in the dining room. Vera and her colleagues celebrate their good choices.

    Recommended. prisrob 07-24-14
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