Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Book Review - The Darkest Evening; Ann Cleeves

 

TITLE/AUTHOR:  The Darkest Evening; Ann Cleeves

PUBLISHER: Minotaur

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2020

GENRE: Fiction / Crime Procedural / Mystery

FORMAT:  print /LENGTH: 373 pp.

SOURCE: Library

SETTING(s):  UK - Nortumberland


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A young mother's body is found dead in the snow at a remote country estate while party-goers gather indoors.

BRIEF REVIEW:  During a blizzard, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope misses a turn and finds herself on an unfamiliar road. Off on the side of the road is a car with its door left open so she pulls over to see if someone is in trouble.  She finds the car abandoned but, an infant strapped in its car seat.  She leaves a note and takes the infant with her and drives a short distance to Brockburn House,  a grand but now rundown estate where Vera's father had grown up.  Inside a party is going on which includes some distant family of members of hers that she has not seen in years.

Outside the body of a young woman is discovered in the snow.  Who is the woman? Is there a connection to her and the infant and is there a killer still on the grounds? 

From this point on, Vera moves into full Inspector Stanhope mode complete with her assistants Joe and Holly.  Vera is a unique character, abrasive at times and a bit of a bully. I enjoyed getting to know her and her inner-most thoughts.  The story moved along at a nice pace and, although this was #9 of the Vera Stanhope series, it was a first experience for me. I felt it worked fine as a standalone.  This wasn't a typical mystery.  It almost felt more literary.  Written from the third person POV, I loved the writing style, the strong  characters (there are a lot of them) and the setting was wonderful as well.  I never suspected the killer which is always a good sign of a well-written police procedural.  I definitely plan to read more books by this author.

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

31 comments:

  1. I really, really, really should read a book by Ann Cleeves. I've watched one or two episodes of the adaptation, Vera - but I quickly realized that I will need to rather read a book or two first. Okay, I will add Ann Cleeves as high priority.

    Lovely review!

    Elza Reads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never seen the series but I guess I am in the minority as many have mentioned it.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. You would enjoy it Mary nothing gory just a well-written mystery/police procedural.

      Delete
  3. I love this series and enjoyed this latest entry! Cleeves writes excellent plots for the feisty and difficult Vera. I am always eager for the next book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh so you are a fan if you read the whole series? Great to know.

      Delete
  4. We like the sounds of that one too!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, I am delighted that you enjoyed this book! The Vera Stanhope series is a favorite of mine and you are right that the books can stand alone, even though I prefer to read them in order.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dorothy, I definitely want to read more books by Cleeves.

      Delete
  6. Good to know you liked this one, it's on my radar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki, I know you like audios and the sample seemed good. I read the print though.

      Delete
  7. The plot of this one intrigues me! I've been wanting to try this series for awhile, maybe my library has a copy of this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I want to try the Vera Stanhope series and this one sounds like such a good plot. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it! Now I need to go get the first book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't read anything by her but someone mentioned this might be a good start even though it was #9. I still got a nice amount of insight into Vera and her assistants.

      Delete
  9. I really like her writing but actually haven't read any of her Vera books. I like that it's good enough as a standalone as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana, Vera is a good character. I liked that you knew her inner most thoughts.

      Delete
  10. This does sound good. I think she wrote the books the show Shetland was based on too, right? I watched a couple seasons of that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg, I've heard other readers mention the show you reference and yes it's based on but, I've never seen it.

      Delete
  11. Good to hear this is a good one. I like the element that her family/friends are involved in the storyline as well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. House party mysteries are some of my favorites.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, any time there is a large gathering makes for a fun mystery. I suspected a few from that group.

      Delete
  13. A while back, this popped up on my instagram. Quite wonderful. I've never read the books, but I do watch Vera.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVbF6p9gVUY&t=9s

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny, I'm not much of a tv watcher so hadn't heard of the series but, obviously I am in the minority by all of the comments.

      Delete
    2. The youtube is not the show. The woman who plays Vera reads a bit from this book!

      Delete
  14. I've yet to read anything by Ann Cleeves despite seeing her name and her books everywhere these last couple of years. In fact, I almost bought a nice copy of one of her later books just yesterday at a used-book bookstore, but decided on "Witch Elm" by Tana French, instead. French is another I'm just now getting around too, but absolutely loving "The Stranger" of hers right now.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I like the sound of this, a sort of literary-mystery.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.