The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves {Book #9 in the Vera Stanhope series}


Ages ago I was introduced to Ann Cleeves’ series Shetland and I enjoyed the few books I read.  But this series about Vera Stanhope has completely captured my attention.  If you like British police procedurals and an uncoventional detective you are in for a treat.

The setting is Northumbria near the Cumbrian border in December, just before Christmas.

Detective Vera Stanhope is on her way home from work when she is caught in a blizzard. She ought to have waited until the storm passed but being a stubborn woman, set off anyway. After a wrong turn she comes upon a car pulled off, the door open and a toddler strapped in a car seat in the back. No sign of any adult.   Vera takes the little boy through the blizzard to shelter at a nearby estate.  This manor home is a known to her as it’s in the Stanhope family.  Her father Hector took her there when she was a child but she never developed relationships with this distant family as Hector was the black sheep of the clan.

After calling the station to get assistance and report a missing woman (Vera assumes it’s a woman and most likely the child’s mother), a body is discovered near the estate.  It is indeed the child’s mother and she was most definitely murdered. There are a number of possible suspects, any of which may have motive.  This one keeps you guessing and I certainly thought I had it figured out early.  Nope!  I was wrong.  What an ending!

I enjoyed this book very much. As it’s book number nine in the series and I’ve only read book one previously, I obviously missed some character development. There is a detective named Holly who seems to want Vera’s approval and I sensed reading she is either a new character to the series or I’ve missed important developments. No matter, it was a smooth read and I never felt like I ought to put it down and start at the beginning of the series.

Foodie Stuff

Wine and mince pies, tea and thin sandwiches, meringues, roasted pheasant cooked slowly in with red wine and shallots, vegetable casseroles for the veggies and vegans, roast potatoes, sprouts and parsnips.
Bread and soup
Eggs Benedict, avocado on sourdough toast


I’m loving the series so plan to make it my goal for the remainder of the year to catch up. I’m on a Vera mission! Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced complimentary copy. I was not compensated for this review and throughly enjoyed this book.

Publication date is September 8, 2020. Genre is mystery and thriller.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday


14 thoughts on “The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves {Book #9 in the Vera Stanhope series}

    • sandy, I have to say it was a surprise to get this book as I haven’t been that active with Netgalley. According to the info they sent this won’t be out until September, but it may have a different publication date in your country.

      I am commitedto this series now! I liked the first two books in the Shetland series but this series has my complete attention.


  1. British police procedurals are a “péché mignon” — French for guilty pleasure, at least that’s what I think they are! Bring them on!

    be well… mae at

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mae, tthey are indeeed a pleasure for to read. I did not know peche mignon was guilty pleasure. We have a specialty bakery and sandwich shop in Tallahassee called Peche Mignon and it’s pricey but wow…the baked goods and sandwiches are well worth it.


  2. I enjoyed both Vera and Shetland as television series. I knew they were both from book series but didn’t realize that they were by the same author.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Eilean Donan Castle #BriFri – Joy's Book Blog

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