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Ann Cleeves

Vera Stanhope Longlisted for Award

The Moth Catcher

The latest adventure of DI Vera Stanhope, the brilliant but unglamorous detective created by award-winning crime writer, Ann Cleeves (photographed, right, by Micha Theiner), has been longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2015. The Moth Catcher, now available in paperback, takes Vera to Valley Farm, a quiet community in Northumberland, where life seems perfect. 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...

There are 18 titles in all on the longlist, all of them published in paperback in the qualifying period. The Moth Catcher faces some tough competition from established stars like Ian Rankin and J.k. Rowling - or rather, her crime writing alter ego Robert Galbraith. There are several dark horses, too, authors whose first novel caught the eye of the academy of professionals from the world of crime writing who drew up the list.

The overall winner will be decided by the panel of Judges, who will take into account the votes of members of the public (voting opens on 1 July). Ann says "Of course I'm delighted that The Moth Catcher has been long listed for the Theakston's, and I hope all VERA fans will support it when voting opens."

"... the best of a superb series... "

Globe and Mail

"The Moth Catcher is a splendid, solidly plotted modern take on a golden-age "closed circle" mystery, and Vera, as always, is a delight."

Laura Wilson, The Guardian

The Moth Catcher was published by Pan MacMillan, on September 10th, and is now also available in paperback. Read more about this seventh Vera Stanhope book here.

All about Vera, the TV series and the books.


Shetland with a difference!

Too Good to be True

Ann's next book will be a Shetland novel Cold Earth, coming in the autumn. In the meanwhile she has published two other Shetland books - but with a difference! There's a new mystery featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez from the bestselling Shetland series: but Too Good To Be True is a gripping Quick Read which takes Jimmy Perez away from his home territory, all the way south to the Borders.

When young teacher Anna Blackwell is found dead in her home, the police think her death was suicide or a tragic accident. After all, Stonebridge is a quiet country village in the Scottish Borders, where murders just don't happen.

Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez soon arrives from far-away Shetland when his ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to look into the case. The local gossips are saying that her new husband, Tom, was having an affair with Anna. Could Tom have been involved with her death? Sarah refuses to believe it - but needs proof.

Anna had been a teacher. She must have loved kids. Would she kill herself knowing there was nobody to look after her daughter? She had seemed happier than ever before she died. And to Perez, this suggests not suicide, but murder ...

Too Good To Be True was selected as one of 15 books to be given away, free, on World Book Night, April 23rd 2016. Organisers explained that the diverse line-up, spanning genres of crime, poetry, non-fiction, YA, historical fiction, and fiction in translation, was devised to celebrate "the enrichment that reading and books can bring to people's lives" encouraging those who don't already read for pleasure - an estimated 36% of adults - to get involved. Ann said "It's nice to be a part of this event, specially with the Quick Read Jimmy Perez!"

More about Too Good to be True

Ann Cleeves: Shetland

The other book is something else again - a beautifully illustrated introduction to the Shetland islands. Ann says "If you'd like to know more about the islands where the Shetland TV series is filmed and the books are set, check out my non-fiction book. It's full of wonderful photos and explains why I love the place so much." It's a gloriously illustrated companion to the novels, taking readers through a year on Shetland, learning about its past, meeting its people, celebrating its festivals and seeing how the flora and fauna of the islands changes with the seasons. Whether it is the drama of the Viking fire festival of Up Helly Aa in winter, or the piercing blue and hot pink of spring flowers on the clifftops, the long, white nights of midsummer or the fierce gales and high tides of autumn, Shetland is vividly captured in all its bleak and special beauty.

You can see an extract from the book on the publishers' website.

Shetland was published by Pan Macmillan on 22nd October 2015; it is available for from Amazon in hardback (ISBN: 978-1-5098-0979-0) or for Kindle.


In the Press

Ann talked to The Independent about where she found the initial ideas for The Moth Catcher - and what crime novels she enjoys - and doesn't enjoy! - reading. Meanwhile, in The Guardian she offers a short guide to Vera's Northumberland: read what she has to say about Amble, and compare her descriptions of Mardle, the setting for Harbour Street!

"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid


Signed books now available

A lot of people have asked us if it is possible to buy signed copies of Ann's books, so we have teamed up with the people who offer this service for Val McDermid. If you want your copy of Thin Air signed but can't get to any of Ann's events - or if you are looking for a particular, earlier book (we have mainly recent hardback UK titles on offer but other titles and languages may be available) - use the enquiry form to find out more.


Other Books

The Starlings and Other Stories Bello reissues: the Inspector Ramsay books Burial of Ghosts The Sleeping and the Dead

Ann Cleeves says "Good short stories have a force and a clarity which it's almost impossible to achieve in a novel. That's why I enjoy reading them. I know that each word has been chosen with care.

"I don't send post cards when I travel; I write stories instead. The three pieces in the CWA anthologies bring back vivid memories of Tanzania, Finland and Alaska. Raven Black was originally conceived as another of those holiday snap stories."

In The Starlings and Other Stories, Ann has edited a collection of twelve short stories which are literally, if not snapshots, at least inspired by photographs. She has invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad to bring in an accomplice, and write a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson. Ann's own contribution is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope.

Read more about The Starlings and other short stories by Ann Cleeves.

Pan MacMillan's Bello imprint hunts down lost classics, and uses modern digital technology to make them available to readers as eBooks or print-on-demand paperbacks: over the summer they have quietly been releasing two previous series of detective novels by Ann Cleeves. The 'Inspector Ramsay' books feature a police officer who is like Ann's (and TV's) Vera Stanhope in being based in England's northernmost county, Northumberland - though unlike her in many other ways. Looking even further back, to the work of a very young writer, you can also now read the George & Molly books, the adventures of amateur sleuth George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher - and his wife, Molly. (Or you might want to read what Ann would like to say to that younger self).

Two standalone novels are back in the bookshops in new paperback editions: The Sleeping and the Dead is a vivid psychological suspense novel the discovery of a body in the lake forces prison officer Hannah Morton to confront her past self; in Burial of Ghosts a holiday romance changes Lizzie's life forever.


In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction

Colin Dexter

A most satisfying mystery set in an isolated and intriguing location

Peter Robinson


Member, the Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame 2012

Ann Cleeves is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

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Last update: 25th April 2016.