Tuesday, 8 January 2013

three, four, five: vera stanhope

Ann Cleeves: Hidden Depths (2007), Silent Voices (2011), the Glass Room (2012)

Meet my newest obsession, DI Vera Stanhope. I spent the entire weekend reading the final three novels about her cases.  I just couldn't stop reading, dreaming and obsession. So what is it about Vera?

Vera is a fifty-something, enormous woman who couldn't care less about her appearances and is too fond of food and alcohol. She has never had a man in her life, no children either and she lived with her father until he died. Her father was interested in birds and her great knowledge of nature has helped her in the investigations.

Vera definitely isn't the nicest boss, but she is brilliant. She leads a small team consisting of Joe, Holly and Charles in the Northumberland police. Joe is by far her favourite and he often has to keep Vera company instead of being with his own family. I really liked how he finally got to narrate some chapters in Silent Voices and the Glass Room.

In Hidden Depths Vera and her team has to solve a case which starts with a teenager being found dead in the bathtub and the water is full of flowers. They don't get much further with the case before a young teacher student is found dead in the sea, and this time there are also flowers in the water. Are there any links between the two victims?

 Vera has been told by her doctor that she needs to start exercising, so she starts swimming at a local health club. She enjoys using the sauna after and it is in the sauna she finds a body of a woman in Silent Voices.

In The Glass Room Vera has tracked down her missing neighbour to a writer's house on the coast. But once she gets there, a professor is found dead and Vera's neighbour is found at the crime scene with a knife in her hand.

I wish I had more Vera to read, but a new season of the TV series is just around the corner and then there's the new Shetland book to look forward to in a couple of weeks. I hope Ann Cleeves is writing a new one about Vera now, as I have really grown fond of that woman. 

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