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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2011
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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i like Vera. I think she's been cleverly created. Middle aged, fond of a drink, overweight, dressed in a shapeless overcoat, an eye for the younger man and a brilliant detective in a completely random, cranky way. With Vera this author has taken all that's familiar and popular from a huge crop of fictional male detectives, TV and literature, and housed them in a female persona. You wonder why Vera feels so completely familiar?. You've met up with her many times before through the likes of Inspector Frost. That's a really clever thing to accomplish.

I'm a fan of the quirky relationship between Vera and her sidekick Joe Ashworth. Two people couldn't be any more different and yet; he understands her and they gel. It's that connection that comes into play in Silent Voices and helps drive the plot forwards.

The plot's quite basic, nothing wrong with that, a social worker is murdered and the police investigation into her death uncovers a series of random clues. Evidence seems to point back to the murder of a child she might have been professionally involved with. The heart of the investigation twists and turns upon Vera's ability to uncover the clues Not so easy when the evidence seems to point in different directions. Ann Cleeves fully involves the reader in the investigation and the police procedure is nicely handled and believable.

There's little in the way of action but enough of a building mystery to keep the reader hooked. As always, with Vera, it's the characterisation that's strongest and that's certainly the key to enjoying the story.

Well worth paying for this download and I enjoyed the story.
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on 25 April 2016
I always recommend Ann Cleeves books to friends who want a good crime novel, and Vera is no exception. Another great story that has you wondering whodunnit until the very end. I already knew from watching the series on TV, but you don't get the full reasoning and intricacies of the plot until you've read the book. 10/10.
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on 16 April 2017
What a brilliant storyteller Ann Cleeves is. Another excellent tale of Vera and her team. There are so many twists and turns that I find it difficult to know who did do it. Great characters and a good storyline
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on 13 September 2017
As always a great story. Ann cleeves never lets you down.
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on 14 January 2015
I got these when they were on offer on Daily Deals, I love Vera the TV series so I thought I would love the books, still haven;t got round to reading yet as I have so many other books to read first
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on 18 May 2017
Good read well written.
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on 5 June 2017
very good thanks
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on 14 April 2017
Most enjoyable. Gripping read , characters come alive. If you like a good thriller this is a must.Look forward to the next book.
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on 27 December 2014
From start to finish you are guessing who did the murders. The people who are related in ways you do not expect come together in the end. Another great book by one of the best crime writers.
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