VERA STANHOPE

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The Moth Catcher

More about The Moth Catcher

Harbour Street

More about Harbour Street

The Glass Room

More about The Glass Room

Silent Voices

More about Silent Voices

Hidden Depths

More about Hidden Depths

Telling Tales

More about Telling Tales

The Crow Trap

More about The Crow Trap

Vera storms the US

To know the brilliant but unglamorous Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is to love her - and it's now easier than ever for US readers to make Vera's acquaintance. You might even win a copy of Silent Voices autographed by award-winning author Ann Cleeves, in KCET's Book Giveaway: there's a book to be won every day throughout the month of June!

starHarbour Street, the sixth Vera Stanhope book, which formed the basis of the opening episode of VERA series four, is now available in the US, published by Minotaur Books in December, 2015, with the paperback due in September 2016. It received a starred review in the Library Journal's list of seasonal titles, with the verdict: "Cleeves offers up evocative settings and flawed characters with depth, making her mysteries wonderfully addictive. Her latest is no exception."

starAnother starred review, this time in Publishers' Weekly agreed: "Cleeves expertly handles the interplay among Vera - outsized both in stature and personality - her staff, and the villagers... You don't have to be a fan of the TV show...to enjoy this top-notch police procedural."

More about Harbour Street.

The Moth Catcher

The Moth Catcher is now available in paperback in the UK, and reaches the US in October 2016 (and next year, publishers Minotaur Books will also be bringing out for the first time US editions of Vera's entire backlist). Vera's seventh investigation takes her 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...

"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

Read more about this seventh Vera Stanhope book here.

In a new interview in The Independent, Ann talks about where she found the initial ideas for The Moth Catcher - and what crime novels she enjoys - and doesn't enjoy! - reading.

The Guardian has published Ann's 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!



The Starlings and Other Stories

Vera in Short

Just can't get enough of Vera? If you've read all the novels, and watched all the TV dramas, have you read the short stories?

Ann's contribution to The Starlings and Other Stories (which she has also edited), is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope. For this collection of twelve short stories, Ann invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad writers' group to join her, with an accomplice, in writing a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson.

The Starlings and Other Stories was first published by Graffeg on 7th September 2015. You can see a preview (and place an order) on the publisher's website or order a copy from Amazon UK or from Amazon.com.

Ann has previously used short stories as an opportunity to explore Vera's past: The Habit of Silence, one of Ann's contributions to Best Eaten Cold, the second anthology of stories from Ann and her colleagues in the Murder Squad, reveals something more about Vera Stanhope, the woman she is now and the past that made her. Another short story, Hector's Other Woman, was first published in Guilty Consciences, the new anthology from the prestigious Crime Writers' Association, and is now reissued in Ann's short story collection, Offshore.

Read more about these and all Ann Cleeves's short stories.


Vera - the tv series

Ann Cleeves, Lee Child and Brenda Blethyn

Ann Cleeves and Brenda Blethyn receive Vera's Dead Good Award from Lee Child

At the 2015 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, ITV's VERA was the inaugural winner of the Lee Child Award for Best Loner or Detective, in the first Dead Good Reader Awards. As Programming Chair of the Festival, Ann was present - accompanied by Brenda Blethyn, who so brilliantly plays the part of DCI Vera Stanhope - to accept the award from Lee Child.

Vera, series 6 - the DVD

And as series 6 of ITV's VERA came to an end, Brenda Blethyn was also at the "Geordie Oscars", the regional Royal Television Society awards, to collect the big budget drama award for series 5 - with a promise that the popular detective (based on the novels by Ann Cleeves) will be back next year for a seventh series. If you missed it - or want to enjoy it again - VERA series 6 is now available on DVD from Amazon UK (coming in Region 1 on June 28th).

The five previous series of Vera are all now available on DVD in both the UK and the US. So you can watch Vera (which won best drama in the regional Royal Television Society Awards in March 2014) as often as you like, in your own good time. Order any of them from Amazon, using the links below, or look out for them in the shops!

VERA is filmed at locations from across Northumberland and Tyneside: if the scenery gives you an urge to visit Northumberland, here's a guide to some key locations - and you can read what Ann has to say about the county here.

Despite Vera's continuing - and growing - success, Ann Cleeves told Shots Magazine that The Crow Trap (the first Vera Stanhope novel) was originally intended as a standalone novel. But "I liked Vera Stanhope so much that I brought her back, first in Telling Tales and now in Hidden Depths. She developed because I was so cross with even feminist writers writing female central characters who were young, fit and beautiful. Vera isn't any of those things. She's overweight and middle-aged." - "more Nero Wolfe than V I Warshawski", as Jake Kerridge put it in The Telegraph!

Read an interview with Ann Cleeves in the Edinburgh Evening News about Vera Stanhope.

Ann says: "I developed Vera because at the time there were few strong, believable female protagonists in crime fiction. I wanted someone true, real and relatable, so I created Vera Stanhope.

"She grew out of the strong spinsters I knew as a child: competent, formidable and without a trace of glamour. She's middle-aged, over-weight and if I was in trouble I'd want her on my side."

Now Ann's creation is enriched by the contribution of Brenda Blethyn, who plays the part of television's Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope: "She absolutely captures the spirit of the character," Ann says. &Now, I hear her voice when I'm writing dialogue for the books. She has that wit, humour and a touch of cruelty. I don't see Brenda so much because my vision of Vera is uglier than Brenda, even dressed-down Brenda, but I do hear Brenda's voice in my head." In a recent interview, Ann admitted that sometimes Brenda tells her things about Vera that she hadn't known herself!


"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid

"If you like the TV series, you're in for a treat - because the atmospheric but realistic books are even better."

Leicester Mercury

"... one of the most appealing fictional detectives to emerge since Andy Dalziel got into his stride..."

Martin Edwards, Spinetingler Magazine

"... although she is lonely, obsessed with her job and over fond of a beer, Vera is one of the few fictional detectives who seems not only like a real person, but one capable of conducting a murder enquiry. Ann Cleeves brings the same skill to all her characterisations in this highly impressive story."

Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph

Vera's Facebook pageYou can also keep up with the show through its page on Facebook!