Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves {#2 in the Vera Stanhope Series}


It is a little while before Detective Vera Stanhope makes an appearance in this police procedural.  Just as the first novel in this series, our cantankerous detective arrives on scene after the basic plot is established.  The story is set in a small town near Hull, England.

It’s years since young Jeanie Long was accused and convicted of murdering fifteen year old Abigal Mantel but the case has now been reopened.  Jeanie commited suicide in prison after being denied parole again.  She had protested her innocence since the beginning and now, someone has stepped up, too late for Jeanie, to provide her with an alibi.

Witnesses from this case are questioned again, bringing hope and frustrations to the family members who lost a loved one.  Then another murder happens and it appears to tie to Abigail’s murder long ago.  There are a few misleading clues and you will be guessing on who the murderer(s) are as there is plenty of motive to go around.

Once again I liked Vera’s character as well as Detective Joe Ashworth.  Emma Bennett was a major character in this book, introduced straight away as she was Abigail’s friend.  I never could like Emma the way she was portrayed.  The other supporting characters were well developed and played their parts well!

This is the third book I have read in this series and plan to continue in order.  I had read the first book for a book club and liked it very much.  This series was on my back burner as I liked the author and I LOVE a series.  Then, much to my delight, NetGalley offered me the most recent book (#9) as an ARC so I’d not gotten a chance to get these read in order.  Steady on.

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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.

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