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|Print List Price:||£7.99|
Save £3.25 (41%)
The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 561 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled|
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- Book 1 of 7 in Vera Stanhope Series (7 Book Series)
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Top Customer Reviews
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’.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bit slow to start with but really good as you get further into storyPublished 15 days ago by bluelin
Enjoyed this book as it is the fist time I have read the Vera Stanhope books. But enjoyed the television version the books are better or this one is. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Paul Wilkin
I came to this from the Shetland series which I liked but this I loved. Some detective stories are written as puzzles only. This writer builds characters you really care about. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Caroline
Great writing and subtle humour as well as a very interesting lead detective. Very evocative and feels genuine in its geography. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Greenglassbeads
Much better depth than the TV adaptation can provide. Really enjoyed this crime story.Published 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
A quarry, environmental surveys and murder all wrapped up into one book. The title becomes obvious while reading this book and I found that extremely revelling. Read morePublished 1 month ago by bonjovi
As story unfolds, perspective shifts to each of the main protagonists in turn. The different perceptions of the same conversations and incidents fleshes out the characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C. Owen
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