Top positive review
Well plotted murder mystery
20 October 2013
First book I've read featuring Vera Stanhope and I haven't watched the TV series, so no preconceptions about her!
Ann Cleeves weaves a skilful plot around the murder of a teenage girl and the subsequent suicide of the person charged with her murder. I was immediately drawn in; the story pulls the reader in a number of different directions. Clearly there are people deeply affected by tragic events, but who's got what to hide and why? A diverse collection of characters gave real depth to the plot and kept me guessing right the way through. There's a strong sense of location with sufficient description to place events in a real time and place setting, thereby adding to the sense of this. Being a true life investigation. It's a really well crafted story with sufficient pace to keep the reader engaged from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the psychological probing. Flawed characters just on the 'normal' boundary make fascinating subjects. I found Vera intelligent, likeable and often amusing. She's colourful without being intrusive and her conflicts, both personal and professional made her very believable.
The pace of the thriller really picks up in the latter third of the book as the strands come together and a real sense of urgency builds in the closing pages. Loved it! Have another couple featuring Vera and looking forward to those. Reading this as a standalone worked well. Happy to recommend.