22 September 2012

Review: THE GLASS ROOM, Ann Cleeves

  • Published Macmillan 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-230-74582-7
  • 373 pages
  • Source: my local library
  • #5 in the Vera Stanhope series
Publisher's synopsis (from author's site)

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 Writers' 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. Working with Sergeant Joe Ashworth, she starts the hunt for a murderer who is artistic as well as deadly.

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...

My Take

This is #5 in the Vera Stanhope series and I've been thinking about what keeps bringing me back to these books. Partly it is that they are real mysteries in the Agatha Christie tradition.
In THE GLASS ROOM with 30 pages to go I was still guessing, although I have to admit the clues were there, and all seemed so obvious once you knew who the murderer was.

What keeps bringing me back too is the character of Vera herself and the interplay between herself and her offsider Joe. For him Vera doesn't always play by the book and the interplay between them is delightful, particularly when they try to score points off each other. Vera is a bit unpredictable, liable to lurch off on her own, following her own hunches. Joe isn't always as malleable and acquiescent as he should be and that's what Vera likes about him. Her management skills with the rest of her team sometimes leave a bit to be desired, and that's when she resorts to yelling at them. She's very human.

There's a quirky sense of humour that pokes through now and again too.

Should you read the Vera Stanhope novels in order? I would recommend that you do, not just because I have, but because Vera's character develops so well from novel to novel, and her circumstances change with each new case.

I've got reviews and mini-reviews of all of them on my blog.

My rating for THE GLASS ROOM: 5.0


Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I couldn't agree more. Cleeves does create interesting mysteries that you cannot always easily unravel. And yes, I do like the Vera Stanhope character very much. Glad you enjoyed The Glass Room. I truly did too and part of what I liked was how human Stanhope is in that novel. She is in the others too but this one highlighted it.

Nicola Mansfield said...

This sounds good! I hadn't heard of this author before but I'll certainly put her on my list. Thanks for the review!


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