19 October 2015

Review: THE MOTH CATCHER, Anne Cleeves

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1419 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (September 1, 2015)
  • Publication Date: August 25, 2015
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • #7 in the Vera Stanhope series
Synopsis (Amazon)

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.

The three couples who live in the Valley Farm development have secrets too: Annie and Sam's daughter is due to be released from prison any day; Nigel watches, silently, every day, from his window. As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realizes that there may be deadly secrets trapped here ...

My Take

I wondered whether I would have "seen" this story in the Vera series on TV. I am a great fan of the series but I am glad to report that this particular story has evaded capture, so far. I hope we continue to get some book-only Vera Stanhope stories.

For me the television series has given a vision of what Vera and the various members of her team might look like, and I must admit to their faces sitting there in my mind's-eye as I read, except that the "book" Vera is larger than the actress.

But what I love about the books is their language and the author's description of the other characters in the story. The words just slip down like good wine. The story flows and Ann Cleeves gives the reader  just enough for the little grey cells to work on. There are little puzzles to solve and little bits of humor to enjoy.

I also like the way Vera manages her team, and gets them to utilize their very divergent talents, by playing them off against each other. She is very sparing with her praise which just makes them work harder.

Six retirees, three couples, who decide to get away from it all, to make the most of the time that remains to them, and then find they haven't gone far enough. Three deaths, murders connected by place, but other connections very elusive. Cleeves makes the reader work hard to the very end.

A very satisfying read.

My rating: 4.8

I've also reviewed
mini-review RAVEN BLACK - Shetland #1
WHITE NIGHTS - Shetland#2
RED BONES - Shetland #3
5.0, BLUE LIGHTNING - Shetland#4
5.0, DEAD WATER  - Shetland#5
4.6, THIN AIR - Shetland #6
4.3, MURDER IN PARADISE - Palmer-Jones series #3
TELLING TALES (Vera Stanhope) #2
4.8, SILENT VOICES, (Vera Stanhope) #4
5.0, THE GLASS ROOM (Vera Stanhope) #5
4.9, HARBOUR STREET, Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope) #6
 4.5, BURIAL OF GHOSTS - stand-alone

1 comment:

Janet Rudolph said...

Love your review. I really enjoy the Ann Cleeves books. She'll be International Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime in 2016. Wish you could join us!


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