Monday, 3 July 2017

Book Review: Harbour Street - A. Cleeves

Vera Stanhope is a force of nature! She is blunt, direct, doesn't care about appearances, she loves detecting but under all that being strong there is a big lonely heart. 
This is the first crime novel featuring Vera I read and I am very glad that I received it through my Willoughby Book Club subscription. In reality it is book 6 of the serie, so I have some catch up to do!
This novel is set in the seaside town of Mardle near Christmas; the setting is very suggestive, this dark and rough street covered with snow, a B&B, a fish&chips shop, a pub and a boat yard. The body of a distinct old lady is found on the metro by one of the DS's daughter and from there there is a thorough investigation into Harbour Street, where the victim lived and worked. 
There are several characters that could be the suspect and it is really enjoyable to read how Vera plans her investigations, the interviews and finally arrives at the conclusion.
It is quite a classic, very hard to guess who the killer is, I personally did not find out till it was announced in the book!
In summary a great crime story with an unusual female lead detective, a great read for crime fiction readers.

Overall rating: 7      Plot: 7     Writing style: 7      Cover:  6

Title:Harbour Street
Author: Ann Cleeves
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Pages: 384
Publication year: 2014

As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revellers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro. But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn't left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train. Why would anyone want to harm this reserved, elegant lady? Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she stands on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived, to begin their inquiry. Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what had been troubling Margaret so much before she died - before another life is lost. Retracing Margaret's final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighbourhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street . .Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?
The Author:
Ann Cleeves is a British crime-writer. In 2006 she won the inaugural Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the richest crime-writing prize in the world, for her novel Raven Black. Cleeves studied English at Sussex University but dropped out. She then took up various jobs including cook, auxiliary coastguard, probation officer, library outreach worker and child care officer.[2] She lives in Whitley Bay,[and is married with two daughters.The Vera Stanhope novels have been dramatized as the TV detective series Vera and the Jimmy Perez novels as the series Shetland.

Vera Stanhope serie - books:

  • The Crow Trap (1999)
  • Telling Tales (2005)
  • Hidden Depths (2007)
  • Silent Voices (2011)
  • The Glass Room (2012)
  • Harbour Street (2014)
  • The Moth Catcher (2015)
  • The Seagull (2017)

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