Ann Cleeves is one of the best mystery authors writing today. She has three current series including the Vera Stanhope mysteries, those featuring Jimmy Perez on Shetland and last year’s novel, The Long Call which featured a new protagonist. I have read them all and recommend that mystery lovers do so as well. Truly dedicated readers should note that Ms. Cleeves also has two earlier series of books worth searching out with one featuring birders and the other with Inspector Ramsay.
The Darkest Evening is a Vera Stanhope mystery with all of the trademarks including the irascible Vera herself, her team (especially Joe and Holly), vivid settings, well developed characters and good plotting. Readers will be swept up.
The story takes place partly at a country house that belonged to a branch of Vera’s family, and its environs. Long term readers will enjoy the glimpse of Stanhope family history while new readers will not be unduly hampered even if this is the first Vera book that they read.
Characters include some of Vera’s relatives, including her cousin,Juliet, who longs for a child and her husband Mark; who is in theater; Harriet, Juliet’s mother; Dorothy who is a close friend of Juliet, and two murder victims. There are, in addition, a number of other characters who live in the community and have relationships with the victims. What are these connections? Who has killed and why? Readers will be turning the pages as they wait to see how all of the story’s threads come together. I highly recommend The Darkest Evening (readers will learn the context of the title as they make their way in the novel).
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.