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A Happy Coincidence … And A Great New Mystery Novel From Ann Cleeves

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I happened to be in our home gym on Sunday afternoon (not a very frequent occurrence I can assure you), with the television on. The programme which had already started minutes before, titled ‘Vera’, was not one which I had ever come across before, so I decided to keep watching for a while to see what it was about.

It transpired that Vera, was in fact DI Vera Stanhope of the Northumberland police and unconventional doesn’t come near to describing both her appearance and her style of investigating a crime. The character of Vera was played by the multi-talented, British actress Brenda Blethyn, with her very able (not to say ‘dishy’) and seemingly long-suffering Sergeant Joe Ashworth, played by David Leon.  I became so engrossed in the programme that my exercise programme lasted for a full 90 minutes, needless to say, by Monday morning I am now hardly able to move!

I came across this great interview with the two stars of the show and it was only then that I discovered that the series had first aired to television in the Summer of 2011 and was based on a series of books by one of the undisputed Queen’s of the mystery genre, Ann Cleeves.

I haven’t read anything by Anne Cleeves for several years and best associate her with books featuring her earlier created characters of George Palmer-Jones and Inspector Ramsay.

I shall definitely be ordering the four, already established stories featuring DI Vera Stanhope, together with a fifth newly published mystery for her to solve in The Glass Room (Vera Stanhope 5), especially as this case involves a group of aspiring authors, attending a workshop at a country retreat!

I also love the cover of this book, great perspective and light intensity

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‘THE GLASS ROOM’ by ANN CLEEVES

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation so she has more tolerance for them than most.

When one of them goes missing she feels duty-bound to find out what happened. But her path leads her to more than a missing friend . . . It’s an easy job to track the young woman down to the Writer’s House, a country retreat where aspiring authors gather to workshop and work through their novels. It gets complicated when a body is discovered and Vera’s neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.

Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over to someone else. She’s too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting and she’s never been one to follow the rules. There seems to be no motive. No meaning to the crime. Then another body is found, and Vera suspects that someone is playing games with her. Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real . . .

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Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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8 comments
  • I haven’t seen the TV show (though I may have seen a few minutes worth at some point, or certainly an advert for it) or read the books, but they certainly sound like they’re “up my street”. Of course, I’ve heard of Ann Cleeves, but had yet to pick up her books.

    • Hi Nikki,

      There are just so many great authors and books out there, that getting to read all the ones I want to is almost an impossibility.

      My TBR shelves are every bit as full as they ever were and my ‘reading lost’ is a mile long and totally unachievable unless I hired a warehouse to store all the books.

      Ann Cleeves is one of the better British mystery writers, although living right up in Northumberland as she does and hosting events predominently in that part of the country, it is unlikely that I shall get to go and see her anytime soon.

      It is very hard to describe the character of Vera Stanhope, she is almost like a female ‘Frost’, in her unkempt appearance and garbled way of thinking through a case.

      I am a sucker for detective programmes of any kind, when I get half a chance and this was one of the good ones, for sure.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good Friday.

  • We watched Vera and enjoyed it very much indeed. BB is stunningly good in it. The Ann Cleeves series I’ve tried is her Shetland Isle ‘Jimmy Perez’ books and they really are very good indeed.

    • Hi Cath,

      I don’t know how many episodes of ‘Vera’ were in the series, but I shall be lurking in the area of the gym again this Sunday, in the hope of catching another of them. Doubtless they will be repeated again on one of the more obscure channels at some time in the future, if not. This is one series that I should really like to watch all the way through.

      I checked out the ‘Jimmy Perez’ books as I haven’t come across those before either, so no surprise to find out that they are now on my radar to read ASAP, thanks for the recommendation.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend. Yikes! we have a couple of inches of the white stuff here this morning, so why am I up so early?

      • You have snow? Goodness, I didn’t realise it was to come down as far as you! Hope my nephew gets in to work okay. Did I mention that I now have a nephew working in your town? (Sorry, I can’t remember whether it’s generally known where you live on here so I won’t mention the name of the town.) He’s now head of languages at your local comprehensive (I assume there’s only one school).

        Um… I *think* there has only been one series of Vera so far and that was last year and just 3 or 4 made if memory serves. I’ve seen repeats scheduled on ITV3, so that’s maybe what you caught. I’m hoping they will have made a new series this year.

        The Jimmy Perez books are excellent crime books… but even better is the setting. I’ve never been to the Shetlands but the descriptions in the books make it sound like a stunning and unique area.

        Enjoy your weeknd too.

        • Hi Cath,

          No need to keep Frome a secret, no-one seems to know where it is anyway, you always have to say that it is close to Longleat, before they have any idea.

          We do actually have quite a few schools in the town and even a college, it is not such a small backwater any more I’m afraid, although the town centre has managed to retain some of its intrinsic authenticity.

          It has become something of a cult place to live just lately and has quite a dormitory feel to parts, where most of the homes are weekend places for those working and living during the week in London. Many others find the town convenient for Bath, Bristol and Swindon, whilst offering a rural address for the weekends!!!! It would be nice if some of those people would have the good grace to support the local businesses as well.

          I have been to Scotland, but only once and then we spent most of the time centrally in the Trossachs, around Glasgow, although we did visit Edinburgh during our stay. I used to work with someone who originally came from one of the remote Scottish islands, although I can’t remember whether it was one of the Shetlands, or not. Even so, she made it sound idyllic and the pictures she had of the scenery were absolutely amazing, although maybe not quite so nice when she had to be airlifted off in a storm to get to the nearest hospital emergency room!

          The snow did settle to about 2 inches in parts, although it must have warmed up quite quickly and has all but gone now, although I think that the resultant water and slush is going to freeze well tonight, as temperatures are to drop well below freezing.

          Glad that you managed to stay snow free and have a good weekend

  • The Glass Room looks interesting. I read Cleeves Shetland based Raven Black and Yorkshire based Telling Tales and liked both. Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

    • Hello Srivalli,

      Thanks for the great comments and recommendations.

      ‘Raven Black’ is part of the series that another blogger had already recommended, so if two of you enoyed it, that’s a definite tick for the reading list.

      I notice that ‘Telling Tales’ is part of the Vera Stanhope series that we have just been discussing and all four of those novels are already added to my list as must reads, along with ‘The Glass Room’, which as you say, sounds really interesting as the storyline initially revolves around a group of aspiring authors.

      Hope that your weekend is a good one.

Written by Yvonne

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