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Vera Stanhope is the primary protagonist of the Vera Stanhope series, a collection of books written by Ann Cleeves. Cleeves is known for having won the Inaugural Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the richest crime writing prize in the world.
Order of Vera Stanhope Series
|1||The Crow Trap||1999||Description / Buy|
|2||Telling Tales||2005||Description / Buy|
|3||Hidden Depths||2007||Description / Buy|
|4||Silent Voices||2010||Description / Buy|
|5||The Glass Room||2012||Description / Buy|
|6||Harbour Street||2014||Description / Buy|
|7||The Moth Catcher||2015||Description / Buy|
|8||The Seagull||2017||Description / Buy|
|9||Frozen (Short Story)||2020||Description / Buy|
|10||The Darkest Evening||2020||Description / Buy|
|11||The Woman on the Island (Short Story)||2022||Description / Buy|
|12||The Rising Tide||2022||Description / Buy|
Before becoming a world-famous author, Ann Cleeves attended Sussex University where she studied English. But she dropped out before graduating and proceeded to pursue a variety of jobs and careers, at one time working as a cook, a probation officer, and even a childcare officer.
The author’s Vera Stanhope books stand on the shoulders of their protagonist. Vera Stanhope is a Detective Inspector operating out of Northumberland. And you won’t find her sitting behind the desk playing politics.
As far as DIs go, Vera is a little unconventional because she likes to get her hands dirty. Vera’s childhood was lonely. Her father was an obsessive birder. He saw fit to drag her to his many hunts. It wasn’t a fulfilling experience, though the skills she garnered during those years make her a highly capable police officer whose introspective personality allows her to understand the motives of criminals.
Vera Stanhope hasn’t made the best life decisions. She loves to eat and her preference is greasy foods. It isn’t uncommon to find half-eaten doughnuts in her purse. She also has a passion for alcohol.
So it comes as no surprise that she is somewhat overweight and unhealthy. At some point in the series, her doctor implores her to make some drastic changes to her lifestyle. But Vera is too stuck in her ways.
By the events of The Crow Trap, the first book in the series, Vera seems to have accepted her lot in life. She is much older than many of her peers and subordinates. She knows she isn’t particularly attractive and her chances of having a family more than likely faded years earlier.
But she is still a great detective. And when four women who have faced betrayal in their lives begin to die, Vera Stanhope turns out to be the perfect DI to locate the killer among them.
Vera has a very straightforward approach to police work. She has a tendency to shamelessly barge into situations where she doesn’t belong. She also always makes herself comfortable in every scenario, even when she isn’t wanted.
The protagonist’s interviewing style is brisk, apt and cutting. It takes a very clever criminal to make a fool of her and she doesn’t encounter many of those.
Besides the characterization of Vera, Ann Cleeves’ fans appreciate her strong mysteries and tight plotting.
Vera Stanhope Books into Movies/TV
The Vera Stanhope book series was adapted into a British crime drama called Vera that premiered on ITV in 2011. The show stars Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope.
Best Vera Stanhope Books
Vera Stanhope is such a compelling character, a middle-aged DI you cannot help but root for despite the intrusive nature of her police work, with some of the best books in the Vera Stanhope series including:
Harbor Street: When bad weather stops a train and its passengers disembark, Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie realize that an old woman, still sitting on the train, has been fatally stabbed.
Joe doesn’t understand why anyone would want to harm Margaret Krukowski. And nobody saw anything. The case gives Vera an excuse to escape the Christmas festivities. She knows that the case before her will be a complex one and that she must figure out why someone would want to kill an elegant old lady before another body drops.
The Moth Catcher: Patrick was hired by the owners of a big country house to watch their home in Valley farm while they were away. Vera Stanhope and detectives Holly and Joe undertake the task of finding Patrick’s murderer.
The young ecologist was found dead. When a second man is discovered in an attic, Vera learns that the two victims could be connected by their fascination for moths. Vera has seen and solved many cases in her life, but this one is different from anything she has ever worked.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Peter Diamond” Series by Peter Lovesey is another great one. Peter Diamond is a police detective in Bath who solves murders in this British Police Procedural. Peter has a knack for insubordination.
You may also enjoy The “Enzo Files” Series by Peter May. Enzo is a half-Scottish, half-Italian divorcee with estranged daughters in Scotland and France who uses his abilities as a forensic scientist to investigate and resolve French cold cases.
What Is The Next Book in The Vera Stanhope Series?
There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The Vera Stanhope Series. The newest book is The Rising Tide and was released on September, 6th 2022.