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Showing posts by: Ann Cleeves click to see Ann Cleeves's profile
Wed
Aug 30 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Ann Cleeves Excerpt: The Seagull

Ann Cleeves

The Seagull by Ann Cleeves is the eighth book in the Vera Stanhope series—a searing new novel about corruption deep in the heart of a community and fragile, fracturing family relationships (available September 5, 2017).

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 key part in his downfall.

Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead and that his body is buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.

This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as ‘the Prof’, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were the 'Gang of Four’, regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth . . .

[Read an excerpt from The Seagull...]

Mon
Aug 14 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Ann Cleeves Excerpt: Telling Tales

Ann Cleeves

Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves is the second book in the Vera Stanhope series, where a ten-year-old murder case is reopened, leading to an investigation into a small town full of big secrets (available August 22, 2017).

Take a visual tour of Telling Tales by Ann Cleeves!

It has been ten years since Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel. Now residents of the East Yorkshire village of Elvet are disturbed to hear of new evidence proving Jeanie’s innocence. Abigail’s killer is still at large.

For one young woman, Emma Bennett, the revelation brings back haunting memories of her vibrant best friend—and of that fearful winter’s day when she had discovered her body lying cold in a ditch.

As Inspector Vera Stanhope makes fresh inquiries on the peninsula and villagers are hauled back to a time they hoped to forget, tensions begin to mount. But are people afraid of the killer or of their own guilty pasts? With each person’s story revisited, the Inspector begins to suspect that some deadly secrets are threatening to unfurl…

[Read an excerpt from Telling Tales...]

Wed
Apr 12 2017 10:00am
Excerpt

Cold Earth: New Excerpt

Ann Cleeves

Cold Earth is the 7th book in the Shetland Island Mystery series (available April 18, 2017).

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and water smash through a house in its path. Everyone thinks the home is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. Perez soon becomes obsessed with tracing her identity and realizes he must find out who she was and how she died.

Chapter One

The land slipped while Jimmy Perez was standing beside the grave. The dead man’s family had come from Foula originally and they’d carried the coffin on two oars, the way bodies were always brought for burial on that island. The pall-bearers were distant relatives whose forebears had moved south to England, but they must have thought the tradition worth reviving. They’d had time to plan the occasion; Magnus had suffered a stroke and had been in hospital for six weeks before he died. Perez had visited him every Sunday, sat by his bed and talked about the old times. Not the bad old times, when Magnus had been accused of murder, but the more recent good times, when Ravenswick had included him in all their community events. Magnus had come to love the parties and the dances and the Sunday teas. He’d never responded to Perez’s chat in the hospital, and his death had come as no surprise.

[Read the full excerpt from Cold Earth...]

Mon
Oct 24 2016 5:00pm

The Origins of Vera Stanhope

Read about how Ann Cleeves conceived of her famous character, Vera Stanhope, and then make sure you're signed in and comment below for a chance to win Season 1 of the hit series Vera on DVD!

Vera Stanhope arrived fully formed into a book that was never planned to include a detective. The Crow Trap was meant to be a stand-alone novel about three women conducting an environmental survey in the Northumberland National Park, but somehow, Vera forced her way in, demanding to be recognized. I loved her from the minute she arrived, looking more like a bag lady than a senior police officer. I loved her independence and the fact that she didn’t care at all what she looked like. I knew immediately that I’d want to write about her again.

[And again, and again...]

Tue
Nov 17 2015 5:00pm
Excerpt

Harbour Street: New Excerpt

Ann Cleeves

Harbour Street by Ann Cleeves is the 6th installment of the Vera Stanhope Mystery Series about a collection of murders that seem to be connected by one seemingly innocent neighborhood. What are the residents of Harbour Street trying to hide? (Available December 1, 2015)

As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revelers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro.

But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that one lady hasn't left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed.

Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she stands on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case.

Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so deeply before she died - before another life is lost. She can feel in her bones that there's a link. Retracing Margaret's final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighborhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street...

Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?

Chapter One

Joe pushed through the crowd. It was just before Christmas and the Metro trains were full of shoppers clutching carrier bags stuffed with useless presents. Babies were left to scream in expensive buggies. People who’d been drinking early spilled out from office parties, stumbling down the escalators and onto the trains. Youths used language Joe wouldn’t want his children to hear. Today, though, he’d had no option about using the Metro. Sal had been adamant that she needed the car.

It was just him and his daughter. She was in the school choir and there’d been a performance in Newcastle Cathedral. Carols by candlelight, because even at four o’clock it was dark in the building. Beautiful singing that made him feel like crying. His boss, Vera Stanhope, always said that he was a romantic fool. Then out into the rush-hour evening, and it was just starting to snow, so Jessie was excited all over again. She was a soloist and had hit all the right notes, so the choirmaster had given her a special mention at the end. Christmas was only ten days away, though she was too old now to believe in Santa. But there was snow. Tiny little flakes twisting in the gusty wind like mini-tornadoes.

[Take a stroll down Harbour Street...]

Sat
May 2 2015 11:45am
Excerpt

Thin Air: New Excerpt

Ann Cleeves

Thin Air by Ann Cleeves is the 6th Shetland Island mystery, in which Detective Jimmy Perez investigates the case of a vacationing woman who disappeared into the mist (available May 5, 2015).

A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Shetland to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends. But, one of them, Eleanor, disappears—apparently into thin air. It's mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. And then Eleanor's body is discovered lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge.

Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to investigate. Before she went missing, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a local child who drowned in the 1920s. Her interest in the ghost had seemed unhealthy—obsessive, even—to her friends: an indication of a troubled mind. But Jimmy and Willow are convinced that there is more to Eleanor's death than they first thought.

Is there a secret that lies behind the myth? One so shocking that someone would kill—many years later—to protect?

Chapter One

The music started. A single chord played on fiddle and accordion, a breathless moment of silence when the scene was fixed in Polly’s head like a photograph, and then the Meoness community hall was jumping. Polly had spent thirteen hours on the overnight boat from Aberdeen to Lerwick and when she’d first come ashore the ground had seemed to shift under her feet, and this was another kind of illusion. The music appeared to bounce from the walls and the floor and to push people towards the centre of the room, to lift them onto their feet. Even the home-made bunting and the balloons strung from the rafters seemed to dance. The band’s rhythm set toes tapping and heads nodding. Children in party clothes clapped and elderly relatives clambered from their chairs to join in. A young mother jiggled a baby on her knee. Lowrie took the hand of his new bride, Caroline, and led her onto the dance floor to show her off to his family once more.

[Continue reading Thin Air by Ann Cleeves...]

Fri
Apr 19 2013 9:30am
Excerpt

Silent Voices: New Excerpt

Ann Cleeves

An excerpt of Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves, the first U.S. edition of the best-selling mystery featuring Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope (available May 7, 2013).

When Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna of her local gym, a closer inspection reveals bruises around the victim’s throat. Vera’s team start their investigation and soon uncover details in the victim’s past that may explain her untimely death. But Vera knows from experience that there’s no such thing as a simple case, and this one grows more baffling by the minute.

Chapter 1

Vera swam slowly. An elderly man with a bathing hat pulled like a fully stretched condom over his head went past her. He wasn’t a strong swimmer, but he was faster than she was. She was the sloth of the swimming world. But still she was almost faint with the effort of moving, with pulling the bulk of her body through the water.

She hated the sensation of water on her face—one splash and she imagined she was drowning—so she did a slow breaststroke with her chin a couple of inches from the surface of the pool. Looking, she suspected, like a giant turtle.

She managed to raise her head a little further to look at the clock on the wall. Nearly midday. Soon the fit and fabulous elderly would appear for aqua-aerobics. The women with painted toenails, floral bathing costumes and the smug realization that they’d be the last generation to retire early in some comfort. There’d be loud music, the sound distorted by a tortuous PA system and the appalling acoustics of the pool, so it would hardly seem like music at all. A young woman in Lycra would shout. Vera couldn’t bear the thought of it. She’d swum her regulation ten lengths. Well, eight. She couldn’t do  self-deception if her life depended on it. And now, her lungs heaving, she really felt that her life did depend on it. So sod it! Five minutes in the steam room, a super-strength latte, then back to work.

[Read the full excerpt of Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves...]