To coincide with the screening of Vera on ITV, I’ve been reading Ann Cleeves’ new book about DI Vera Stanhope, Silent Voices, which is the fifth in the series to date. It gets off to a great start with Vera discovering a body in a health club, and there are many twists and turns before an intriguing solution (which I must admit I didn’t figure out) is revealed.
Ann worked as a probation officer back in the 80s, and her knowledge of social work plays an important part in the story-line, and adds a good deal of strength to the material. The North East setting is, as usual, very well done.
I also thought that the portrayal of Vera and her sidekick Joe Ashworth was very well done. It may be that seeing Brenda Blethyn play Vera has given Ann even more ideas for the character, who really is very well-rounded in more senses than one!
It’s thought-provoking that at one time, amazingly, Macmillan didn’t publish Ann in paperback, and that she once wrote a book, Sea Fever, which took years to achieve publication in the UK. She has come a very long way since then, and this enjoyable book shows her on very good form.