7 January 2021

Review: THE DARKEST EVENING, Ann Cleeves

  • e-book from my local library on Libby
  • Published by Macmillan September 2020
  • ISBN 9781509889518
  • 384 pages

Synopsis (publisher)

DCI Vera Stanhope returns in The Darkest Evening, the ninth novel in Sunday Times bestseller Ann Cleeves' enduringly popular series.

Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope's only thought is to get there quickly.

But the snow is so heavy, she becomes disoriented and loses her way. Ploughing on, she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her. With the driver's door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.

Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.

Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera knows immediately she has a new case. Could this woman be the child's mother, and if so, what happened to her?

A classic country house mystery with a contemporary twist, Ann Cleeves returns with a brilliant Vera novel to savour.

My take

As you will see from my list below, Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite authors, and one that I love to follow. This latest offering in the Vera series does not disappoint.

I particularly enjoyed the exploration of the connections between Vera's familial history and the stately home of Brockburn. In each novel a little more of Vera's character is tweaked out and we gain more insight into what makes her "tick".

A complex plot comes to the fore as Vera discovers what has happened to the child's mother. Several characters are explored and a number of red herrings laid across our path. There's plenty of mystery on our plate. A very good read.

For those interested, there are differences between the books and the television series, but I feel that central character of Vera is essentially the same person. There are differences in the personnel of her team, but the interplay between the main characters is similar.

My rating: 4.9

I've also read

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 (Vera Stanhope) #6
4.5, BURIAL OF GHOSTS - stand-alone
4.8, THE MOTH CATCHER (Vera Stanhope #7)
4.4, TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE (Quick Reads)
4.7, THE SEAGULL - (Vera Stanhope #8)
4.6, THE LONG CALL - Two Rivers #1

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