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Dark days for VERA

ITV has confirmed that the hit crime drama VERA will end with the departure of its star, Brenda Blethyn. Announcing her retirement from the rrôle, Brenda said: "Working on VERA has been a joy from beginning to end and I'm sad to be saying Cheerio But I am so proud of our achievements over the last fourteen years.

"I'll be forever grateful to the wonderful Ann Cleeves who created Vera, and to Elaine Collins who saw fit to cast me in the role. The producers, dream cast and crew have been fabulous and I'm going to miss them, but I won't forget their huge talent, the camaraderie, laughter or kindness we shared..."

The Dark Wives - UK edition

Ann returned the compliment, tweeting: "Of course, I'm sad Vera is coming to an end, but what a ride it's been! Thanks so much to the magnificent @BrendaBlethyn and the team."

But we don't have to say goodbye to Vera: Ann's next book will be another case for the original DI Vera Stanhope: when Vera is called out to investigate the death, with her only clue being the disappearance of one of the home's residents, fourteen year old Chloe Spence, she can't bring herself to believe that a teenager is responsible for the murder - but even she can't dismiss the possibility.

Vera, Joe and new team member Rosie Bell, are soon embroiled in the case, and when a second connected body is found near the Three Dark Wives monument in the wilds of the Northumberland countryside, superstition and folklore begin to collide with fact. Vera knows she has to find Chloe to get to the truth, and the dark secrets in their community that may be far more dangerous than she could have ever believed possible.

More about The Dark Wives, which will be published in late August 2024.

Meanwhile, VERA series 1 - 13 is available on ITVX.

Read more about all things Vera - in print and on TV - here.



Helping to bring The Woodyard to life

The latest mystery novel from award-winning author Ann Cleeves is The Raging Storm, out now in the both the UK (where it is also available in paperback) and the US. Matthew Venn must unravel a third case, set in a remote fishing village in the area of North Devon where he - and Ann - grew up.

If you are already a fan of Ann's Matthew Venn stories, you probably recognise the name 'The Woodyard', the combination of community hub, arts centre, café, and place for people to meet and explore ideas where Matthew's husband Jonathan works. Now Ann is supporting a project to set up a real life Woodyard, and she is inviting you to be part of it too!

Ann explains a bit more about the Woodyard project, what it is and why she is supporting it...

The Raging Storm

The Raging Storm

When Jem Rosco - sailor, adventurer and local legend - blows into town in the middle of an autumn gale, the residents of Greystone, Devon, are delighted to have a celebrity in their midst. The residents think nothing of it when Rosco disappears again; that's the sort of man he is.

Until the lifeboat is launched to a hoax call-out during a raging storm and his body is found in a dinghy, anchored off Scully Cove, a place with legends of its own....

*"Cleeves crafts a devilishly intricate mystery that will surprise even seasoned genre fans, and Venn remains an appealing lead every bit as memorable as the author's Vera Stanhope or Jimmy Perez. Cleeves's fans and newcomers alike will be hungry for the next entry."

Publishers' Weekly

"A surprising denouement moves this character-based mystery to the top tier."

Kirkus Reviews

The Raging Storm was longlisted for the Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2024; voting has now closed, and we await the announcement of the shortlist!

Read more about The Raging Storm.



Shetland renewed

The BBC has announced that Shetland, the gripping tv crime drama which grew out of Ann Cleeves' award-winning detective novels, will return for not one but two more series! Viewers will get another look at the developing relationdhip between Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) and DI Ruth Calder (played by Ashley Jensen).

Shetland series 9 features Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell

The BBC said that Shetland was the second biggest drama of the year in Scotland across all channels and streamers in 2023, behind only Happy Valley! It was shortlisted for the 2024 Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for the best adapted TV crime drama awarded annually by CrimeFest. If you missed it, the full series is available on the BBC iPlayer, as are all the previous series.

Ashley Jensen said she was "thrilled" to be playing the part of Detective Calder again. Series 8 marked her debut in the leading rôle, after she replaced Douglas Henshall as Ann Cleeves' popular detective Jimmy Perez. She said: "The reaction to the last series was incredible and I'm excited at the prospect of unravelling more intrigue.

"The Shetland Isles are breath-taking - without a doubt one of the most memorable and unique filming locations I've been to."

Alison O'Donnell said that she "could not be happier" about returning. She added: "Ashley and I just scratched the surface of our dynamic in Series 8 and I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to build on that." Series regulars Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora) are also confirmed to return. The latest series will be written by Paul Logue and Denise Paul and will be produced by Silverprint Pictures.

And of course, all the original mysteries featuring Jimmy Perez are still there in Ann Cleeves' eight Shetland novels, two whole quartets to read whenever you want to!


Reading for Wellbeing header

Reading for Wellbeing - news!

Ann (pictured above at a celebration event at The Word, South Shields, in February 2023) announces that "Our Reading for Wellbeing website has gone live. Of interest if you work in libraries, public health or social prescribing. Check it out for info & a video of participants explaining its impact."

See the Reading for Wellbeing website here.


Ann Cleeves Classic Crime

Book Break guides you through the books of Ann Cleeves: you may know Vera Stanhope, but did you know about Ann's first series set in Vera's county of Northumberland, featuring Inspector Stephen Ramsay? Or maybe you've read all of the Shetland books, but didn't know about Ann's standalone titles. Or maybe you'd like to read some short stories next...?

A Bird in the Hand

Some of Ann's classic crime novels will be easier to find in the future, with a series of new editions from Pan Macmillan. 2023 started with two stunning standalone mysteries, The Sleeping and the Dead and Burial of Ghosts: now readers have the chance to discover Ann's very first detective series, featuring George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher - helped by his wife, Molly.

Start with A Bird in the Hand: Young Tom French is found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. One of the best birders in England, Tom had put the village of Rushy on the birdwatching map. Everyone liked him. Or did they? ...

And then watch out for new additions to the cataligue of Ann Cleeves Classic Crime, as they appear. More details of Ann Cleeves's stand-alone mysteries, and other books here.



"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid

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


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Last update: 20th May 2024.