Wednesday 11 February 2009

Bucking the Trend

There is great news on Ann Cleeves’ website diary, which is that the transformation of her Vera Stanhope books into a television series is progressing quite swiftly. A good scriptwriter is in place and Ann and her husband Tim have been given him a tour of Vera’s backyard in the North East (Ann also gave my family and me a flavour of this fascinating part of the world when we were up there last spring – it’s an area I hope to explore further this summer.)

I’m delighted about Ann’s success. Vera is a great character - I’d go so far as to say she’s one of the most interesting British cops to have appeared on the scene in the last ten years. When I read the book in which she first appeared, The Crow Trap (originally conceived, I think, as a stand-alone) I expressed the hope in a review that she would return. So she has, and to increasingly impressive effect. The success of Ann’s books set on Shetland (which also cry out to be televised) has caused some readers to overlook the Stanhope novels, but I can recommend them. The Crow Trap is a rather longer book than usual from this writer, and perhaps not as immediately arresting as, say, Raven Black, but it’s still a good place to start.

Not surprisingly, given her success, Ann expresses optimism in her diary about the current state of the publishing business. Given that I have a natural streak of pessimism, I’m not quite as upbeat, since the scale of the economic calamities that have befallen us – and the UK’s economy seems to me to be in a worse state than some others - appears so great that publishing (and libraries, too – I’m thinking of the massive cutback and closure plans in Wirral, where I used to live) will almost inevitably suffer, perhaps quite badly. But this is one prediction which I hope will be proved very wide of the mark.


Dorte H said...

Good news for Ann and for you, I s´pose (can you hear the grapes are sour ;)). One disadvantage of little Denmark is boring and expensive TV (we do not get enough British series, that is for certain). But fortunately I am waiting for the postman. I ordered my first Vera Stanhope novels ten days ago so they must be here soon.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Dorte. I'm sure you'll enjoy the Vera Stanhope books.