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The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope Book 1) by [Cleeves, Ann]
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The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 527 customer reviews

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Complete Series

Product Description

Book Description

Betrayal can be deadly . . .

Book Description

The Crow Trap is the first book in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series – which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, VERA. Three very different women come together at isolated Baikie’s Cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal . . . Rachael, the team leader, is still reeling after a double betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Anne, a botanist, sees the survey as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace, a strange, uncommunicative young woman, hiding plenty of her own secrets. Rachael is the first to arrive at the cottage, where she discovers the body of her friend, Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide – a verdict Rachael refuses to accept. When another death occurs, a fourth woman enters the picture – the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope . . . Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices and The Glass Room. Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series (BBC television drama SHETLAND) contains five titles, of which Dead Water is the most recent.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1526 KB
  • Print Length: 561 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0330518704
  • Publisher: Pan; New Edition edition (4 Feb. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GKLXTW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 527 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,085 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ann Cleeves has a great sense of timing - she builds her narrative steadily, ratcheting up the tension so you hardly notice just how involved you've become with the characters and their dilemmas . Fantastic character portraits (particularly that of Anne) keep the large cast distinct. The story is clever, plausible and really very satisfying. Ultimately, the reason the characters, places and story are so vivid is because of her use of language: she uses words with precision and confidence. Pan Macmillan - reprint this book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
‘The Crow Trap’ (1999) by Ann Cleeves is the first novel I’ve read by that author and I was highly impressed. The first half reminded me of classic novels such as ‘The Moonstone’ (Wilkie Collins) and various 18th century epistolary novels (e.g.’Humphrey Clinker’ by Tobias Smollett) in which the reader discovers characters through each other’s eyes. In effect, this part of the work is kaleidoscopic.
It opens with the suicide of Bella Davison (but is that her name?) and the subsequent meeting of her work associates Rachael, Anne and Grace. I’d been drawn to the book by the TV series ‘Vera’ and instantly recognised my heroine in an uncredited appearance at a funeral on P.62 – ‘...a woman in her fifties, The first impression was of a bag lady, who’d wandered in from the street. She had a large leather satchel slung across her shoulder and a supermarket carrier bag in one hand. Her face was grey and blotched. She wore a knee-length skirt and a long cardigan weighed down at the front by the pockets. Her legs were bare. Yet she carried off the situation with such confidence and aplomb that they all believed that she had right to be there.’ She appears, tweaks the reader’s interest and disappears, like so much else in the book. She also, like Christie’s Poirot, has a deplorable tendency to eavesdrop; for Poirot this had been a point of criticism and I’m tempted to see it as a weakness in this book.
The lives and backgrounds of Rachael, Anne Preece and Grace Fulwell are described over the first 220 pages with Grace’s death mentioned on P. 81 but ‘murder’ isn’t specified till P. 231 - just after the arrival Inspector Vera Stanhope who thereafter dominates the book, even though for much of the time she’s ‘off-stage’.
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By hbw VINE VOICE on 24 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"God save me from forceful women", says DS Joe Ashworth at one point. This throwaway remark catches the essence of the book.

The story revolves around three women who are camped out in an isolated cottage whilst they carry out an environmental survey on the site of a proposed quarry. It opens with the suicide of a fourth woman, Bella. The official explanation is that Bella was unable to cope with the strain of caring for her sick husband. Her friend Rachel isn't convinced - Bella was a strong woman - and sets out to investigate.

Suicide isn't a police matter and so, although this is badged as "A Vera Stanhope Novel", the formidable Detective Inspector doesn't enter the story properly until half way through, after the first murder. Is this linked to the quarry development or the victim's past?

As "The Crow Trap" progresses, we learn how the past and present experiences of the women whose lives (and deaths) have somehow become interlinked with the cottage and the surrounding countryside. The excellently crafted and largely plausible plot reminded me at times of Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell), although Cleeves is less psychologically disturbing and I thought that the final piece in the jigsaw was a bit contrived.

Cleeves doesn't go in for long descriptive passages, but evokes a scene or a character through in a few well-chosen appeals to all the senses; the colour of a curtain or the texture of a face. She also makes extensive use of dialogue, reflecting DI Stanhope's philosophy that crimes are as likely to be solved by listening to gossip as by forensic analysis.

"The Crow Trap" isn't in the first division of detective literature but it's a good page turner that invites you to form your own theories and keeps you guessing until the very end. Vera Stanhope is a wonderful character and I'm looking forward to seeing how she develops in later novels.
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By Tealady2000 VINE VOICE on 1 May 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have seen a couple of episodes of "Vera" on the TV and I thought she was an interesting character so I decided to try one of the original novels (in fact "The Crow Trap" is the very first one in the series). I must say I greatly enjoyed it. It is very much about the characters and the places rather than the murders - there is no dwelling on grisly death scenes, which suits me fine. I grew up in Newcastle and I know Northumberland well, so I loved the descriptions of localities that were familiar to me (there is even a reference to buying school uniform in Farnon's, a shop I had forgotten about). Vera herself is an excellent creation - eccentric and unorthodox, yet highly believable. The plot unravelled slowly, but the book was never dull, and it kept me guessing right to the end.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first in the Vera Stanhope series by the very talented Ann Cleeves. It's now been made into a successful TV drama. I've never seen it, but my son live's next-door to the actress who plays Vera, so I got curious enough to buy the book.
It's a very well written story about the murder of a young conservationist, Grace, and her father Edmund. The best thing about the book is the setting. The countryside and wildlife of the North Pennines are described beautifully.
Grace was living in an old farm house donated to the Wildlife Trust when the last owner, Constance Baikie, passed away, with two other women conservationists. Their purpose was to write an environmental impact report to help decide whether a proposed quarry could be dug into the area. There are many people against the idea, and many people that would gain financially from the quarry, but who would gain the most if the environmental impact report couldn't be finished, or the results were fake? The brilliantly written character Inspector Vera Stanhope and her sidekick, Ashworth, will be investigating.
This was a great, all round, book with everything from murder scenes, family secrets and comedy. Highly recommended. I give it four stars out of five.
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