Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cleeves' unerring sense of human frailty, 21 Nov 2011
This review is from: Telling Tales (Vera Stanhope) (Paperback)
"Telling Tales" is a first rate police procedural featuring the intrepid North England Police Inspector Vera Stanhope. In this story, Stanhope is assigned to open an old murder case when new evidence exonerates the young woman convicted of the crime ten years before. The exoneration comes too late for the woman who has just killed herself after being denied probation. As Inspector Stanhope begins the reinvestigation of the original crime, it's clear that many in the small town where the murder was committed have a lot of personal secrets and wounds connected to the crime.

What is especially strong about this novel is author Cleeves' ability to present in persuasive detail the perspectives of the dozen or so main characters in the story. These are all rather complex actors with a host of mixed qualities--many of them firmly founded on the seven deadly sins. The protagonist, Vera Stanhope, of course has her own hangups and issues which are flawlessly conveyed throughout the story. With her own complicated emotional life, Stanhope becomes a kind of "seer" when dealing with the suspects and persons of interest connected to the procedural. To the reader's happy frustration, as the Inspector moves closer to resolving the crime through the dogged pursuit of interviews and evidence sorting, the ultimate resolution remains deftly concealed from the reader until the last few pages of the book.

This is an exceptionally good mystery story, told with intelligence and insight into the problems of family dysfunction and small town living. At the end there is the possibility of redemption and of renewal to balance the saga of human tragedy that underlies the book. iRecommended.
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