Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope Series

05 February 2016

By Pan Macmillan

Love Vera? Why not try the books that inspired the ITV detective drama, Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series.

Here’s the whole series in order. Best of all you can start reading the lot of them right now.

Beginning with The Crow Trap, the Vera Stanhope series is the bestselling and critically acclaimed series of crime novels set in Northumberland, by award-winning author Ann Cleeves. They have been made into a hit detective drama on ITV1, starring Brenda Blethyn as Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope of the Northumbria Police Force. Ann has been awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel for Raven Black, the first in the Shetland crime series, which has also been made into a TV series on BBC One. In 2012 Ann was inducted into the Crime Writer’s Association Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame.

The Crow Trap

The first book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series.

Three very different women come together at an isolated cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal.

Rachael is the first to arrive at the cottage, where she discovers the body of her friend, Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide - a verdict Rachael refuses to accept.

When another death occurs, a fourth woman enters the picture - the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope...

Start reading The Crow Trap

Telling Tales

The second book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series.

Ten years after Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel, disturbing new evidence proving her innocence emerges in the East Yorkshire village of Elvet. Abigail's killer is still at large.

Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope makes fresh inquiries, and the villagers are hauled back to a time they would rather forget. Tensions begin to mount, but are people afraid of the killer, or of their own guilty pasts?

start reading telling tales

Hidden Depths

The third book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series

A hot summer on the Northumberland coast and Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers.

This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope intrigued. But then another body is discovered in a rock pool, the corpse again strewn with flowers. Vera must work quickly to find this killer who is making art out of death.

start reading hidden depths

Silent Voices

The fourth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series.

When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. Then Vera spots ligature marks around the victim's throat - death is never that simple...

Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again, working with Sergeant Joe Ashworth to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands of the case, death has never made Vera feel so alive.

start reading silent voices

The Glass Room

The fifth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation. But when one of them goes missing, her path leads her to more than a missing friend...

Vera tracks the young woman down to the Writer's House, a country retreat where aspiring authors work on their stories. Things get complicated when a body is discovered and Vera's neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.

start reading the glass room

Harbour Street

The sixth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series

In Newcastle, Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie travel home on the busy Metro. The train is stopped unexpectedly, and Jessie sees that one woman doesn't leave with the other passengers: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed.

No one saw the murder take place. How can this be, when the train was packed? Searching for a lead, DI Vera Stanhope heads to the quiet Northumberland town of Mardle to investigate. She can feel in her bones that the local residents know more than they are letting on: a killer is among them.

start reading harbour street

The Moth Catcher

The seventh book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series

Life seems perfect in Valley Farm, a quiet community in Northumberland. Then a shocking discovery shatters the silence. The owners of a big country house have employed a house-sitter, a young ecologist named Patrick, to look after the place while they're away. But Patrick is found dead by the side of the lane into the valley - a beautiful, lonely place to die.

DI Vera Stanhope arrives on the scene, with her detectives Holly and Joe. When they look round the attic of the big house - where Patrick has a flat - she finds the body of a second man. All the two victims have in common is a fascination with moths - catching these beautiful, rare creatures.

start reading the moth catcher

The Seagull

The eighth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series

A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall. 

Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present . . .

The Seagull is out on 7th September 2017.

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