ANN CLEEVES

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Vera's back!

Vera won best drama in the regional Royal Television Society Awards in March 2014 - and now she's back for a fourth series, starting on Sunday 27th April at 8.00 pm on ITV. The first episode of four new stand-alone films will be Paul Rutman's adaptation of Harbour Street, the sixth and latest Vera Stanhope book.

Harbour Street

Read the book for a sneak preview of this opening episode, which concerns the mysterious death of pensioner Margaret Krukowksi on a busy Newcastle Metro train at the height of rush hour. It leads Vera to a quiet street in a run down seaside town, where she discovers a tight knit community living in the shadow of a long-held, explosive secret. There's a key rôle for Joe, too, as he struggles to maintain a professional distance when his daughter is named as key witness in the case.

Writing on the Book Oxygen website, N.J. Cooper said " There is no shirking of the miseries and cruelties of real life in this series, but Cleeves displays them without resorting to any graphic violence. She has always rendered the landscape and inhabitants of the North East of England with a quiet skill but there is a sense of expansion in the writing of Harbour Street and a confidence that make it even more appealing than its predecessors."

Harbour Street was published by Pan Macmillan on 16th January 2014; read more about Harbour Street here.

Hear Ann on Woman's Hour, talking about Vera Stanhope, Harbour Street, libraries and real-life murderers: the programme is available for Listen Again, so you can listen to the whole thing or fast forward to Ann's section, 30 minutes in. There's also a bonus short clip of Ann reading from Harbour Street, which was not included in the broadcast programme.

All about Vera, the TV series and the books.

"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid



Shetland, the DVD

Shetland for keeps!

The entire Shetland television drama based on Ann Cleeves' Shetland novels - the whole story so far, series one and two - is now available on DVD. That's four of Ann's novels: Red Bones, dramatised in two parts in season one, and Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning from season two. Order it now from Amazon (sorry, it's Region 2 only at the moment).

And more good news - the BBC has announced that Douglas Henshall will return as Detective Jimmy Perez in another series of Shetland! This will be a single full-length story told over six episodes.

Meanwhile, the BBC has a Shetland mini-website, with lots of background information, including clips from series 2, cast interviews and photos - and visit the Writers' Room for Ann's reactions. She told us: "The TV adaptations are very often very different from the books - the scriptwriters cut some characters and add others, cut big chunks of plot and sometimes they even change the murderer! But I'm very relaxed about that. Prose and film are different forms. Besides, the book stops being mine every time someone reads it. Each reader brings their own imagination, history and prejudice to the story and each writer has to learn to let go. Adaptation just takes the process a bit further."

Read more about Shetland: the TV series, the books and the islands.



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 Harbour Street 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

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

Autumn 2013 brought a generous crop of new editions for fans of Ann Cleeves's detective novels - have you read them all?

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

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Last update: 22nd April 2014.