The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8)
A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper - and Vera played a key part in his downfall.Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as 'the Prof', were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were the 'Gang of Four', regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth . . .The Seagull is a searing new novel by Sunday Times bestselling author Ann Cleeves, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.

The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8) Details

TitleThe Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 7th, 2017
PublisherPan Macmillan
ISBN-139781447278344
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Fiction, European Literature, British Literature

The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8) Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    I have read and loved this author's Shetland series for years. Only recently, with her book before this one, have I read her Vera series. Only took one book to hook me with this series, and these characters.This mystery, has Vera investigating and old crime, but it soon has new implications. Ties to someone very close to Vera, this outing hits close to home. Just love Vera herself, described as large, a little ungainly and very determined. She thinks herself irreplaceable, and it convinced her t I have read and loved this author's Shetland series for years. Only recently, with her book before this one, have I read her Vera series. Only took one book to hook me with this series, and these characters.This mystery, has Vera investigating and old crime, but it soon has new implications. Ties to someone very close to Vera, this outing hits close to home. Just love Vera herself, described as large, a little ungainly and very determined. She thinks herself irreplaceable, and it convinced her team can't handle things without her. She is unassuming, just a regular kind of person, and people just want to talk to her, and she takes full advantage of this natural talent. The other three members of her team are also interesting, varied in age and talents. This is a well written procedural, with another enticing location, Whitely Bay. I know this is a series on TV, but I think my imagination does s better job, and I am always hesitant to watch something that may change the way I view either the characters or the series. If you enjoy police procedurals you should definitely try this series.ARC from Netgalley.
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  • Frances
    January 1, 1970
    Vera Stanhope was not in good spirits since her new boss Watkins gave her an assignment; a guest speaker at Warkworth Prison. Vera believed these current tasks were a way to get under her skin and she was unquestionably in his crosshairs. As Vera enters the prison and the small room to give her speech, she was surprised to see former Superintendent John Brace, now a prisoner who she helped to put away glaring at her. After Vera’s short presentation, Brace approached her and quietly said he had i Vera Stanhope was not in good spirits since her new boss Watkins gave her an assignment; a guest speaker at Warkworth Prison. Vera believed these current tasks were a way to get under her skin and she was unquestionably in his crosshairs. As Vera enters the prison and the small room to give her speech, she was surprised to see former Superintendent John Brace, now a prisoner who she helped to put away glaring at her. After Vera’s short presentation, Brace approached her and quietly said he had information he is confident she will want to hear; precisely where a dead body is buried. The book at times is quite repetitive with countless interviews and humdrum scenes, therefore dragging out the story line by taking too long to reach its conclusion. Having enjoyed other books in this series, The Seagull is not a top choice.** Thank you to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review. **
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Atmospheric, meticulous, and sophisticated!In this latest novel by Cleeves, The Seagull, DI Vera Stanhope finds herself immersed in a cold case involving corruption, trafficking, drugs, blackmail, abuse, adoption, and murder that may just end up hitting a little too close to home.The writing style is smooth, descriptive and effortless. The characters, including the nosy, complex, lovable heroine, are well-developed, relentless, and creative. And the plot is a well-paced, cleverly plotted police Atmospheric, meticulous, and sophisticated!In this latest novel by Cleeves, The Seagull, DI Vera Stanhope finds herself immersed in a cold case involving corruption, trafficking, drugs, blackmail, abuse, adoption, and murder that may just end up hitting a little too close to home.The writing style is smooth, descriptive and effortless. The characters, including the nosy, complex, lovable heroine, are well-developed, relentless, and creative. And the plot is a well-paced, cleverly plotted police procedural full of suspects, clues, red herrings, solid deduction, and swirling emotions.The Seagull is the eighth book in the Vera Stanhope series, and whether you’re new to the series or a long-standing fan this novel will be sure to please. It is an entertaining, gripping, mysterious tale that emphasizes the enduring psychological effects parents can have on their children even long after they’re gone.Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.All my reviews can be found on my blog at http://whatsbetterthanbooks.com
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  • Rachel Hall
    January 1, 1970
    A wonderful eighth instalment of Ann Cleeves’ indomitable DI Vera Stanhope of Northumbria Police threatens to bring the shadowy memories of her early years well and truly home to roost as the investigation steers dangerously close to her own father and his nefarious dealings. Offering a glimpse into the world of Hector Stanhope, a disowned member of the landed gentry turned passionate egg collector of rare birds and taxidermist, The Seagull sheds light on a character that has always remained fir A wonderful eighth instalment of Ann Cleeves’ indomitable DI Vera Stanhope of Northumbria Police threatens to bring the shadowy memories of her early years well and truly home to roost as the investigation steers dangerously close to her own father and his nefarious dealings. Offering a glimpse into the world of Hector Stanhope, a disowned member of the landed gentry turned passionate egg collector of rare birds and taxidermist, The Seagull sheds light on a character that has always remained firmly in the background. Until now Vera’s past has so far been shrouded in mystery and her sensitivities to discussing it have been marked by tension. Remaining somewhat is awe of Hector, all the while knowing of his connections to rural crime, what should be a cushy prison talk during the summer forces Vera to confront the demons of her past and the possibility that her father had a far darker and more sinister history. As digging into the unsavoury side of Hector’s and his pals exploits threatens to open the door to some home truths, Vera finds herself presented with a chance to finally overcome her father's disparaging and dismissive attitude to her once and for all. When Vera’s new boss, a fast-track graduate, sends her in to “make the right impression” and deliver a talk to the elderly and disabled wing of a Category B prison, the idea of half day jaunt up the coast with an ice-cream on the way home convinces her that it might not be such a waste of time. Amongst the participants is an old enemy in the shape of former Detective Superintendent John Brace, a man brought down for corruption and his involvement in the death of a gamekeeper, but more significantly one of the legendary Gang of Four of which Hector was the founder. Given that redoubtable Vera was integral in the downfall of disgraced John Brace, albeit kept well away from the intricacies of the investigation due to her own associations, there is no love lost between the pair however a begrudging mutual admiration lingers. Now ailed by MS and with a date before the parole board, Brace offers to enlighten DI Vera Stanhope on where to find the bones of former fixer and procurer of just about anything, Robbie Marshall, also one of her father's oddball group are buried. And all he wants in return is that stubborn Vera starts keeping an eye out for his recently reunited daughter, Patty. With Robbie Marshall reported missing in 1995 by his devoted mother, Eleanor, the local grapevine preferred to speculate that he had fled before getting caught red handed for defrauding his employers, Swan Hunter shipyard. With DI Vera Stanhope’s curiosity piqued and at something of a loss without a murder investigation to get her teeth into, her very own ‘gang of four’ (DS Joe Ashworth, DC Holly Clarke and reliable old-timer Charlie) find themselves occupied chasing down dead ends and decades old testimonies, on what Joe thinks is one of Vera’s whims! However, a visit to Brace’s daughter and single mother of three, Patty Keane, sets the wheels in motion for Vera’s endeavours, but crafty Vera knows better than to trust a word out of Brace’s mouth. When the supposed location of Marshall’s bones, a culvert of St Mary’s Island in once thriving Whitley Bay, turns up enough bones for two skeletons Vera marches in to Warkworth Prison to demand an audience with Brace. She is never fooled for a minute by his denial that he knew nothing about the second body in the culvert, and suspects an ulterior motive lies behind his information exchange.An engrossing mystery swiftly ensues, forcing wily Vera to revive her memories of the men that surrounded her father and piece together his place in a shady group of allies with connections to murder, prostitution and human trafficking. Aside from John Brace, Hector and Robbie Marshall, the identity of the mysterious fourth member of the group known as ‘the Prof’ confounds Vera and Brace refuses to enlighten her. In the years of the early 1990’s, the Gang of Four socialised and celebrated their exploits at a glamorous nightclub, The Seagull, with a reputation above all the other haunts in Whitley Bay. Overshadowing the waterfront, The Seagull was the location of choice for local celebrities, footballers and staffed by cosmopolitan waitressing staff. Burnt down in a suspected arson incident long ago, the secrets that is held so tightly for over twenty-years are brought to light through a mix of personal memories and factual recollections. Former owner of The Seagull, Angus Sinclair, has returned the Whitley Bay and is fronting the proposed regeneration of the area, but is tight-lipped and slippery when questioned on his previous business dealings. For beleaguered Patty a connection to The Seagull comes in the form of errant husband, Gary Keane, an electronics whizz and a man with his own connections to the Gang of Four. However for Patty, the promise of discovering more about her birth mother sees her consulting Vera on the heroin dependent prostitute, Mary-Frances Lascuola, a woman who captured sentimental John Brace’s heart. Long suspected dead, when the second body discovered in the culvert is confirmed as belonging to a female, it seems reasonable to conclude that the bones belong to Patty’s mother, but can things ever be so neatly resolved?As a reader, it is impossible not to sit back and admire DI Vera Stanhope as her brusque manner, lack of feminine wiles and gift for getting the goods out of suspects and witnesses goes unparalleled. Behind her scruffy demeanour, tent like dresses and Velcro sandals, Ann Cleeves provides a warts and all look at Vera, a woman who is both obsessive and impatient. As Vera frequently recognises her own pettiness as she pulls the strings behind her team, she is blessed with a good heart and a steely dedication to a job that she has made her life. Well paced, truly involving and frequently very humorous, The Seagull sees Vera confront a future discovery which threatens to encroach on her personal life and leave her conflicted. Despite this being a cold case and driven in part by Vera’s thirst for action, the opportunity to unravel the chequered history of Hector Stanhope and his crew is impossible for Vera to resist. Ann Cleeves has constructed a clever historical puzzle which sits neatly alongside what regular readers know already of Vera’s history and background.Despite Vera being the focal point of her tight knit team, Cleeves never neglects her supporting cast, with Charlie benefitting from a recent boost of his daughter's return home, pet DS Joe Ashworth becoming more assertive, although still torn between the demands of his wife and ‘other woman’ and DC Holly Clarke starting to shape up quite nicely. Recent instalments to the Vera series have included parts of the narrative as seen from the perspective of both Joe and Holly, and this has proved beneficial in terms of delivering a more well-rounded feel to the series.Warmth, wit and a fantastic location in Whitley Bay which captures the imagination combines to make this an excellent eighth novel and DI Vera Stanhope’s finest hour!
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I've been watching the series Vera on PBS for a while and enjoying Brenda Blethyn's performance as the title character, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to read a book from the series (my first) through NetGalley. I notice some subtle changes between the two mediums but otherwise an excellent carryover of the essence and integrity of characters and stories. This latest of stories has not yet been televised in the U.S. but comes just after the most current televised outing. It involves I've been watching the series Vera on PBS for a while and enjoying Brenda Blethyn's performance as the title character, so I am pleased to have had the opportunity to read a book from the series (my first) through NetGalley. I notice some subtle changes between the two mediums but otherwise an excellent carryover of the essence and integrity of characters and stories. This latest of stories has not yet been televised in the U.S. but comes just after the most current televised outing. It involves former detective superintendent John Brace, now a prison inmate due to a conviction for corruption. Now he and Vera are to become entangled again.First off, I was struck as I read by the depth of Cleeves' writing. All of her characters are drawn as complete and complex beings; even those who may only have one appearance in the book are allowed to be "real" people. At times, there are definite differences from the TV adaptation, in tone and sometimes in substance, but these only add to my wish to read all of Cleeves' books. For I find that I enjoy Vera in both mediums. She is wonderful in the televised expression where she is presented as an everyday hard-working copper who gives all for her guys and the victims and expects the same in return. She's brash but she cares. In print, she seems a bit edgier but she still cares about victims and about those who work with her. And any plot differences on TV don't bother me at all--I imagine they were done to improve the ease of filming and continuity. So definitely recommended!4.5* rounded to 5A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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  • Icewineanne
    January 1, 1970
    The latest case in the 'Vera' series (#8) has a very personal connection for her. It stirs up almost forgotten memories brings her back to her past as it involves her late father & his friends, known as the gang of 4. It begins with an old friend of her father's (ex-CID Superintendent), John Brace, now enjoying the hospitality of Her Majesty's prison for his crimes, revealing to Vera that he knows where the body of a criminal is buried, a man who went missing over 20 years ago. Robbie Marsha The latest case in the 'Vera' series (#8) has a very personal connection for her. It stirs up almost forgotten memories brings her back to her past as it involves her late father & his friends, known as the gang of 4. It begins with an old friend of her father's (ex-CID Superintendent), John Brace, now enjoying the hospitality of Her Majesty's prison for his crimes, revealing to Vera that he knows where the body of a criminal is buried, a man who went missing over 20 years ago. Robbie Marshall had been part of the gang of 4, along with Brace, another man nicknamed the 'Prof' and Vera's own father. This was a gang that was involved in all sorts of illegal activities. Marshall went missing decades ago, leaving his mother wondering what happened to him. Now Brace tells Vera that Marshall was murdered and that his body is buried at Whitley Bay, a once popular seaside spot for bar hopping teenagers. Vera arranges to have body dug up and to her surprise finds that there's a second body buried in the same location. Both have been buried there for over 20 years. This has Vera & her team tracking down anyone who remembers anything from that turbulent time.One club stood out from those days, The Seagull. It was for adults who had money & style, the rich & famous. On the surface it was a romantic jazz club, but one that contained many secrets. And someone is willing, even after all of this time, to ensure that those secrets are never revealed.The bodies found seem to be connected in some way to The Seagull.....and it has Vera questioning how the gang of 4 fit into all of this and what dealings they had with the jazz club. On a personal level, it also has Vera examining how well she really knew her father.Another brilliant book in this series. The author paints a wonderful picture of an era. Even though i grew up in Canada, It still brought back fond memories of my own wild student days. Ann Cleeves is a favourite of mine and i always look forward to reading her latest whodunit. This latest in the series is another absorbing complex mystery that kept me turning the pages. I'm always amazed at how clever she is at tying everything together. 4.5 Stars - Highly recommended!Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for an advance copy :)
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  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.comAnn Cleeves is best known as the brainchild behind popular British television series Vera and Shetland, both series are based on her bestselling books on detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez. Cleeves has obvious worldwide appeal and her latest novel, The Seagull, marks her eighth novel in the Vera Stanhope series. The Seagull is a startling crime novel, about the tenuous nature of family relationships and the extortion that is entrenched in the core of a *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.comAnn Cleeves is best known as the brainchild behind popular British television series Vera and Shetland, both series are based on her bestselling books on detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez. Cleeves has obvious worldwide appeal and her latest novel, The Seagull, marks her eighth novel in the Vera Stanhope series. The Seagull is a startling crime novel, about the tenuous nature of family relationships and the extortion that is entrenched in the core of a sleepy seaside community.Detective inspector Vera Stanhope’s past catches up with her when she makes a visit to the local prison. Vera has a difficult confrontation with John Brace, a former detective superintendent, who was once closely affiliated with her late father, Hector. John Brace is in jail for corruption charges and for his involvement in the death of a man. When Vera comes face to face with this figure from her painful past, he unexpectedly offers Vera an investigative lifeline. John provides Vera with vital information pertaining to the unsolved missing person’s case of Robbie Marshall, a well-known figure in the shady underworld in which John and his associates moved in. John advises Vera that Robbie is not missing, he is in fact dead. By securing Vera’s promise to look after his family while he is in jail, John reveals the location of Robbie Marshall’s body, which is supposedly buried in the area of Whitely Bay, in the vicinity of St Mary’s Island. When Vera’s search team scale the area for the body, they are shocked to find the remains of two skeletons. In order to solve this case and bring closure to the loved ones of these two skeletal remains, Vera, along with the help of her team and bent cop John Brace, must work together to put the past to rest.I went into reading The Seagull with a certain degree of trepidation. It is always risky reading a book that is part of an established series. The Seagull is my introduction to the work of renowned British crime author Ann Cleeves. Although I have heard of the successful Vera and Shetland television series, I also haven’t watched any episodes of these popular adaptations. So I went into reading The Seagull with fresh eyes. I am glad I took a chance on reading The Seagull and on the work of Ann Cleeves, as I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I believe this was down to the command Ann Cleeves has of her characters, setting and plot. I also found Cleeves has an easy writing style that immediately drew me into the unfolding events of this solid British crime novel.Vera Stanhope is a well defined character. Although The Seagull is quite a way into this established series, I still got a very good feel for this character. I quickly discovered, thanks to the skilled work of Ann Cleeves, Vera’s unique quirks, flaws and past history. Likewise, Vera’s team of officers, Joe, Holly and Charlie are fully fleshed out. The secondary characters in this novel, such as John Brace and his daughter Patty, also bring essential character elements to the narrative as a whole.There is plenty to keep the reader busy with in The Seagull. Cleeves uses this latest novel to explore a whole host of themes. These include strained family relations, corruption, blackmail, the sex trade, drug use and adoption. The novel largely revolves around assigning an identity to and solving the cases of the two skeletons found by Vera and her team. Finding out the cause of death and the identity of these remains was one of the reasons I continued to read this novel in (almost) one sitting. I had a job tearing myself away from this novel. Cleeves pads out the mystery aspect of The Seagull extremely well, by providing the reader with plenty of information to ponder on, complete with some messy plot diversions, in order that they can draw their own conclusions. For long time fans of the heroine Vera Stanhope, the process of investigating the mystery of the skeletal remains gives the reader a deeper insight into the personal world of the enigmatic detective.Cleeves does a fine job of portraying a solid sense of place in her latest novel. The Seagull is a highly atmospheric read and the main location of the novel, a seaside town located on the north-east of Britain, was meticulously portrayed by Cleeves. This strong sense of place is grounded in authenticity, which is drawn from the fact that Cleeves has lived in the location in which the novel is set. In the author’s note at the close of the novel, Cleeves does make it clear that her descriptions of St Mary’s Island and Whitely Bay are in no way meant to denigrate the area. Instead, Cleeves hopes that by basing her new book at these locations it will serve to draw positive attention to the area, as a place to visit and one day restore.Ann Cleeves has herself a new fan, after reading The Seagull, a book I was absorbed in from the opening to the closing page. I am very keen to explore more of this author’s extensive back catalogue. The Seagull is a riveting crime mystery novel that explores strained family relationships and the dark underworld of crime and corruption in a seaside community. It is a story that has implications for those in the past and the present, as well as the popular female detective Vera Stanhope. I highly recommend this novel to fans of the crime or mystery genre. Newcomers and established fans of Ann Cleeves will be more than satisfied by The Seagull.*I wish to thank Pan Macmillan for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
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  • Thebooktrail
    January 1, 1970
    Visit the locations in the novel here The SeagullWell this takes Vera to a whole new level. She’ s just as curmudgeonly, still annoying Joe but there is a new side to her here, a vulnerable one and this time the reader gets to know her that little bit more.Brilliantly dark and twisty. Her best yet. Review to come nearer the time but have this on your TBR pile. Intricate plotting - this seagull attacks, steals the chips, eats them and then pounces on you for more. Vera is back and then some!FULL Visit the locations in the novel here The SeagullWell this takes Vera to a whole new level. She’ s just as curmudgeonly, still annoying Joe but there is a new side to her here, a vulnerable one and this time the reader gets to know her that little bit more.Brilliantly dark and twisty. Her best yet. Review to come nearer the time but have this on your TBR pile. Intricate plotting - this seagull attacks, steals the chips, eats them and then pounces on you for more. Vera is back and then some!FULL review in honour of Harrogate crime festival:Well this takes Vera to a whole new level. She’ s just as curmudgeonly, still annoying Joe but there is a new side to her here, a vulnerable one and this time the reader gets to know her that little bit more.A faded seaside town provides Vera with her most challenging case yet. The sense of foreboding was electric and the personal links to Vera really gave an insight in to the lady herself.Her father is seemingly involved with her latest case and when she visits one of his associates in prison, finds a body and then is asked to look out for someone on the outside, Vera finds herself walking a very fine line. I’ve never found her vulnerable yet still with that frown and those vinegar laced comments. Vera is fearful of facing the past and with the way the present day case pans out, I’m not surprised. Bodies at St Mary’s Light house, a dodge club at Whitley Bay – this is her most personal case yet.I also liked the way we got to know Joe more – his struggles at home with a new family and Holly too. A great cast of characters which bounce off each other with ease. The camaraderie is great too and the banter as strong as northern builder’s tea.The central mystery is complex and dark but in a very good and clever way. This is the strongest Vera yet and the club and its dealings had such a menacing air – not even St Mary’s Lighthouse could shine on it and brighten it up – well there were two dead bodies out there.Chillingly brilliant with a sense of menace and foreboding which really brought Vera to the forefront and gave me a thrilling new insight into the lady of the mac and hat.Vera’s most personal case yet – Whitely Bay has never looked so dark and mysterious
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  • Stephen Collins
    January 1, 1970
    The cover of this book is ghastly it is set in Whitley Bay at St.Mary's Lighthouse so Why did not put that on the cover? Lot people who read this book will not have seen St.Marys they not all like me.I have photo of My Grandparents sat on the rocks under the lighthouse from 1950s & as child I often played there.This like Wanking the dead a cold case from.1990s Vera Has step back over twenty years to solve a case best forgot.This double murder of 1990s not just murder but past memories of pas The cover of this book is ghastly it is set in Whitley Bay at St.Mary's Lighthouse so Why did not put that on the cover? Lot people who read this book will not have seen St.Marys they not all like me.I have photo of My Grandparents sat on the rocks under the lighthouse from 1950s & as child I often played there.This like Wanking the dead a cold case from.1990s Vera Has step back over twenty years to solve a case best forgot.This double murder of 1990s not just murder but past memories of past of father Hector & hope that the Prof will be found.This one her best Vera books for few year that I bet ITV spoils specially as The actor who played Joe left so one main characters in books isn't in the TV series
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    I was a bit surprised by how much I loved this book which is a bit rude.So I knew I liked Ann Cleeves writing because I have enjoyed 4 or 5 of her Jimmy Perez series but I wasn't expecting this to be so brilliant.I have not read any other Vera Stanhope and this is number 8 in the series - it didn't matter that I read it out of order and maybe it was better because I missed out all of the character development?!I loved Vera and her team and I was so immersed in the story. Multi-POV always works f I was a bit surprised by how much I loved this book which is a bit rude.So I knew I liked Ann Cleeves writing because I have enjoyed 4 or 5 of her Jimmy Perez series but I wasn't expecting this to be so brilliant.I have not read any other Vera Stanhope and this is number 8 in the series - it didn't matter that I read it out of order and maybe it was better because I missed out all of the character development?!I loved Vera and her team and I was so immersed in the story. Multi-POV always works for me because my attention span is rubbish (yes, I am ashamed by that). I can't explain why this book impressed me more than all the other police procedural books I read...I guess I just connected with the characters and the place (I do have a bit of a thing for English seaside towns right now) and the story is top notch! I do love Vera and can't wait to read more about her. Now I am rushing off to collect all the other books in this series - highly recommended!
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  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First Sentence: The woman could see the full sweep of the bay despite the dark and the absence of street lights where she stood.An old enemy of Insp. Vera Stanhope, John Bruce asks that she visit him in prison where she helped put him. He wants to cut a deal; information on the whereabouts of the body of Robbie Marshall, a long-missing hustler in exchange to Vera looking out for his daughter and grandchildren. There is a very personal element to this case for Vera as Bruce, Marshall, and a man k First Sentence: The woman could see the full sweep of the bay despite the dark and the absence of street lights where she stood.An old enemy of Insp. Vera Stanhope, John Bruce asks that she visit him in prison where she helped put him. He wants to cut a deal; information on the whereabouts of the body of Robbie Marshall, a long-missing hustler in exchange to Vera looking out for his daughter and grandchildren. There is a very personal element to this case for Vera as Bruce, Marshall, and a man known only as “the Prof,” were close friends of her father, Hector Stanhope, bringing back memories Vera would prefer remain buried. Cleeves creates such a strong sense of emotion—“Sometimes it felt as if her whole live had been spent in the half-light; in her dreams, she was moonlit, neon-lit, or she floated through the first gleam of dawn,”—and place—“The funfair at Spanish City was closed for the day, and quiet. She could see the silhouettes of the rides, marked by a string of coloured bulbs, gaudy in full sunlight, entrancing now.”Those who follow the BBC television series “Vera” and may be disappointed by the departure of some characters, it’s nice to see that Holly and Joe are still here in the books. The description of Vera’s team is done in terms of their relationships to Vera. What is lovely is her understanding of what drives them, each member’s strength and what motivates them. Vera and Joe’s visit to the mother of a missing man is a sad reminder of the pain through which families go without the closure of knowing what happened.There is honest police work here. The investigation is conducted by legwork as well as technology; getting out and talking with people. The case is worked step-by-step, without flash. Vera’s self-awareness is admirable—“then she thought she was making a drama of the situation. She always did.” Yet, to her—“…the law matters. All those little people you despise so much have to abide by it, and so do you. So do I.”“The Seagull” is such a good book. Beyond the excellent plot, what one really cares about is Vera and her team.THE SEAGULL (Pol Proc-Inspector Vera Stanhope-England-Contemp) – Ex Cleeves, Ann – 8th in series Minotaur Books – Sept 2017
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  • David Highton
    January 1, 1970
    A great story as Vera and her team gradually unwind a mystery dating back to 1995, when two bodies are found in a culvert by the coast, based on a tip off from an ex-policeman now in prison. Cleeves is very clever at letting the reader discover new information a bit at a time as different members of the team interview witnesses from twenty years ago and discover where some are lying . A great set of characters come alive in pursuit of the truth, with a dramatic ending.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    How very Vera. I consumed this book rather quickly because it had all the well-loved elements of the televised episodes I do enjoy. I probably read one of the earlier books before I started trying to keep track of my reads on this site, but I never made a thing out of reading the series when I had the watching with Brenda Blethyn's excellent portrayal of Vera. I will return it to the library forthwith to allow the next in Hold Line to enjoy this latest book.The author hopes people may visit Whit How very Vera. I consumed this book rather quickly because it had all the well-loved elements of the televised episodes I do enjoy. I probably read one of the earlier books before I started trying to keep track of my reads on this site, but I never made a thing out of reading the series when I had the watching with Brenda Blethyn's excellent portrayal of Vera. I will return it to the library forthwith to allow the next in Hold Line to enjoy this latest book.The author hopes people may visit Whitley Bay some day and I only wish it were a wee bit closer for I would love that.Vera's team works well together on this investigation into deaths from another era when her father Hector was part of a group of four...and her new boss makes a very brief and inconsequential visit on the pages. Vera's thoughts, however, lead one to believe it could be the beginning of the end.
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  • Eadie
    January 1, 1970
    Book Description:A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper and Vera played a key part in his downfall.Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her t Book Description:A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper and Vera played a key part in his downfall.Now, Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-nineties, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as 'the Prof', were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were the 'Gang of Four', regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth . . .The Seagull is a searing new novel by Sunday Times bestselling author Ann Cleeves, about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.My Review:This is the 8th installment of the Vera Stanhope Mystery series. I enjoyed this one as it gave us a glimpse into more background about Hector Stanhope, Vera's dad. It stirs up thoughts about Vera's unhappy childhood and how her father was always too busy with his bird hobby and didn't really have much time for her. The book gets off to a slow start but then moves towards the middle through to the ending. The characters are interesting and the plot is intricately woven. Ann Cleeves' excellent descriptive writing makes the book very atmospheric and you feel you are a part of the story. The book is full of twists and turns which kept the pages turning. I look forward to reading the next in the series and I highly recommend these books to those who love mystery thrillers. I suggest they be read in order as the stories build one upon the other.
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  • Tanuj Solanki
    January 1, 1970
    read an eARC provided by Netgalley.The police work keeps you reading, but the final resolution is disappointing - not just in what the resolution is, but also in the way it is revealed, with the villain visiting our lady detective and they collectively re-narrating the actual story. I don't dig that in detective fiction / police procedurals anymore.The fact that we have a middle-aged lady detective running the show is the charming bit, one that, I believe, has kept the series alive. This was, ac read an eARC provided by Netgalley.The police work keeps you reading, but the final resolution is disappointing - not just in what the resolution is, but also in the way it is revealed, with the villain visiting our lady detective and they collectively re-narrating the actual story. I don't dig that in detective fiction / police procedurals anymore.The fact that we have a middle-aged lady detective running the show is the charming bit, one that, I believe, has kept the series alive. This was, actually, my first ever detective fiction read with a lady at the helm of investigations. Terrible, I know!
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  • Mandy Radley
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely brilliant, I doubted whether this latest book could be as good as the others and I needn't have worried, I think they get better. In this one Vera and her team investigate a 20 year old murder after bodies are found in a culvert following a tip off from a previous Superintendent who is now in prison. We also find out more of Vera's childhood as her father Hector was involved with the disgraced Superintendent. I didn't want this to end, when can we expect more from Ann Cleeves. Recomme Absolutely brilliant, I doubted whether this latest book could be as good as the others and I needn't have worried, I think they get better. In this one Vera and her team investigate a 20 year old murder after bodies are found in a culvert following a tip off from a previous Superintendent who is now in prison. We also find out more of Vera's childhood as her father Hector was involved with the disgraced Superintendent. I didn't want this to end, when can we expect more from Ann Cleeves. Recommended.
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  • Sue Trowbridge
    January 1, 1970
    This is the eighth book in Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series; my book group was reading it, which is why I didn’t start with the first Vera book (though this feels like the sort of series where the individual novels can stand alone). It is the basis for a popular TV adaptation featuring Brenda Blethyn, who has described Vera as “big, fat and ugly.” The inspector’s appearance is frequently commented upon, to the point where I felt it got a little excessive; one of her underlings notices her Velcro-st This is the eighth book in Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series; my book group was reading it, which is why I didn’t start with the first Vera book (though this feels like the sort of series where the individual novels can stand alone). It is the basis for a popular TV adaptation featuring Brenda Blethyn, who has described Vera as “big, fat and ugly.” The inspector’s appearance is frequently commented upon, to the point where I felt it got a little excessive; one of her underlings notices her Velcro-strapped sandals, which reveal her “filthy” feet: “[he] felt a moment of revulsion.”Vera is one of those detectives who is married to her job, which she does exceptionally well. In The Seagull, she is dealing with a cold case involving the discovery of two dead bodies which had remained hidden since the 1990s. One is identified right away, but the other is a mystery. Vera must consult a man in prison, John Brace, for information about the crime; Brace was a bent cop who was close friends with Vera’s late father, who frequently associated with shady figures, a group “held together by loyalty and shared secrets, that strange kind of male friendship that seemed more important to those involved than either marriage or family.”At 400 pages, The Seagull seems a bit overlong, and the web of crimes, both modern-day and long-ago, grows almost too tangled. Apparently the Vera TV episodes each feature a complete case and clock in at a brisk 90 minutes. The story Cleeves tells in The Seagull is a good one, and maybe watching a pared-down version would prove more satisfying than reading the book.Read the full review
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    really excellent
  • sslyb
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this. Nice and thick. After plenty of hints (from the TV series -Vera) I feel I've finally gotten some perspective on Hector.
  • John Lee
    January 1, 1970
    It seems to have been a long wait for this next instalment of the Vera Stanhope series. It was worth it.Those who have read and remembered ( some hope of that!) my notes on the earlier books of the series will know that the character of Vera has caused me problems. I just didnt see Brenda Blethyn, brilliant actress though she is, who plays Vera in the successful ITV series, as being the Vera that I have always imagined. I now admit that during this book she had taken over the roll in my minds ey It seems to have been a long wait for this next instalment of the Vera Stanhope series. It was worth it.Those who have read and remembered ( some hope of that!) my notes on the earlier books of the series will know that the character of Vera has caused me problems. I just didnt see Brenda Blethyn, brilliant actress though she is, who plays Vera in the successful ITV series, as being the Vera that I have always imagined. I now admit that during this book she had taken over the roll in my minds eye.As usual for this series, The Seagull is set up on the North East coast and has Vera remembering more about her early life with her father than she might have wanted.The story brings her back into contact with her old boss ( the subject of an earlier story) who is about to apply for parole from his prison sentence. There are a couple of old cases to solve and an up to date one. It is a complex plot stretching back over many years involving the search for a couple of people. It is one of those books where, when everything is explained, you wonder why you hadnt picked up on the clues too.There is almost a family feel to this series which might be considered starnge as Vera is a spinster. Maybe because the job is her life that she treats her squad as almost a family. Having read all of the series so far, we are seeing her inner group grow and develop much as , in other circumstances, you might watch children mature.I think that it is a measure of good writing how quickly you are drawn into a story. As I expected with this author, here it was immediate and it was achieved without any explosions, whistles or flutes or lurid sex scenes , just good writing.Keep them coming please.
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  • Latkins
    January 1, 1970
    This is another fine mystery novel featuring Vera Stanhope, now an ITV series starring Brenda Blethyn. In it, Vera is drawn into an old case which might have involved her late father, Hector. When she comes across an old bent copper in prison, he tells her where a body may be found, but two bodies are actually discovered there. It all seems to lead back to a club in Whitley Bay, The Seagull, which was destroyed by fire back in the 1990s. I really like this series, I enjoy reading about Vera and This is another fine mystery novel featuring Vera Stanhope, now an ITV series starring Brenda Blethyn. In it, Vera is drawn into an old case which might have involved her late father, Hector. When she comes across an old bent copper in prison, he tells her where a body may be found, but two bodies are actually discovered there. It all seems to lead back to a club in Whitley Bay, The Seagull, which was destroyed by fire back in the 1990s. I really like this series, I enjoy reading about Vera and her team, and the mystery is intriguing and keeps you reading.
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  • Carol - Reading Writing and Riesling
    January 1, 1970
    My View:A superbly written police procedural with a very human protagonist and contemporary narrative. Is it because I have watched an episode or two of Vera (the Detective series based on the novels in this series) or merely the fantastic way that Cleeves writes location, character and intrigue that I am enamoured with this novel? I don’t know – maybe it is a combination of the two and that I can clearly picture and hear Brenda Blethyn as I turn the pages that I read in one sitting.Start readin My View:A superbly written police procedural with a very human protagonist and contemporary narrative. Is it because I have watched an episode or two of Vera (the Detective series based on the novels in this series) or merely the fantastic way that Cleeves writes location, character and intrigue that I am enamoured with this novel? I don’t know – maybe it is a combination of the two and that I can clearly picture and hear Brenda Blethyn as I turn the pages that I read in one sitting.Start reading this novel and enter a captivating world where sins of the past juxtapose and intersect a current investigation. Cold cases are reviewed and personal memories are awakened in this thrilling narrative where corruption is served as the main course, redemption is a too sweet dessert.A five star read.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Cleeves is always worth reading. Her characters are compelling and show growth through the series. Vera is a pip, and Brenda Blethyn, who plays her in the TV series captures her well. She's not a "pretty girl," but she works that to her advantage. People underestimate her at their peril. That quality comes in handy in this mystery, which revolves around people from Vera's past, including her difficult father and his former pals.The mystery is well worked, and I couldn't figure out whodunnit unti Cleeves is always worth reading. Her characters are compelling and show growth through the series. Vera is a pip, and Brenda Blethyn, who plays her in the TV series captures her well. She's not a "pretty girl," but she works that to her advantage. People underestimate her at their peril. That quality comes in handy in this mystery, which revolves around people from Vera's past, including her difficult father and his former pals.The mystery is well worked, and I couldn't figure out whodunnit until the end. That's good, but the problem is that Cleeves kept too many of the clues hidden. In the end, Vera had no proof and several of the baddies were already dead or in prison. I'm unhappy with mysteries that end with the detective explaining it all--rather like the ending of the Poirots. I don't feel I've had a sporting chance to solve the crime myself. And without evidence and with a baddie taking himself out, as it were (what's the motivation here? We don't know him well enough.), there's no justice. I think procedurals are about getting justice for the victims, but there wasn't any here. I wonder, too, if the unfortunate parents of the wild girl ever found out what happened.In the end, the mystery is less satisfying that Cleeves's other books in this series. Still, she tells a good story.
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  • Tim Rideout
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Lost in thought, she’d stopped listening out for him. She only knew he was there when she felt him behind her, the breath on her neck, the hands on her shoulders.’Once again, Ann Cleeves grips her readers with a mesmerising tale of past misdeeds and those who live with their legacy. ‘The Seagull’ engages with fatherhood, obsession and identity in another brilliant crime novel.
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  • Deborah Cleaves
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent read. Well written procedural concerning multiple murders committed by one, or more, of four friends and associates including the detective ‘s father many years ago. Even the evidentiary summary at the end was fresh rather than redundant. Kept the reader’s interest throughout.
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  • Hannelore Cheney
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the eARC.My admiration for Ann Cleeves' writing knows no bounds and writing a review is daunting; I don't have the skills to do her justice, but will try.Vera is invited to speak to a group of convicts in the elderly and disabled wing. John Brace, a former Police Superintendent, is one of them. Vera had helped put him away. He was also a good of Hector, Vera's late father.He convinces her to visit his daughter to check on her wellbeing. In return he wi Thank you, Netgalley and Minotaur Books for the eARC.My admiration for Ann Cleeves' writing knows no bounds and writing a review is daunting; I don't have the skills to do her justice, but will try.Vera is invited to speak to a group of convicts in the elderly and disabled wing. John Brace, a former Police Superintendent, is one of them. Vera had helped put him away. He was also a good of Hector, Vera's late father.He convinces her to visit his daughter to check on her wellbeing. In return he will tell her where the body of a missing man is buried. He was a member of the Gang of Four, along with Hector, John and a man only known as the Prof. They illegally robbed birds' nests for years, as well as being involved in other criminal activities.When not only one, but 2 bodies are found, Vera and her team are faced with a cold case that is frustratingly difficult to solve and opens up many unpleasant memories for Vera.This 8th in the Vera series is another wonderful read, not only because of the intriguing case, but we get more glimpses into Vera's youth and the 3 other members of her team, Joe, Holly and Charlie, are well fleshed out and you and up loving them, warts and all. Most of all, though, it's Vera who makes this series addictive. Where else can you meet a late middle aged, overweight, sloppily dressed police woman who always gets her man? Obsessive, impatient and married to her job, Vera, (who has a tendency to have dirty feet as her favorite footwear happens to be rubber soled sandals with Velcro strips, lol) is strong and comfortable in her skin, despite a difficult childhood. You can't help but love her and wait with bated breath for her next case. Come on, no. 9!
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  • Breakaway Reviewers
    January 1, 1970
    The order comes out of chaos in this fascinating missing person/crime investigation.Detective Vera Stanhope is led to the discovery of two bodies buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay by her late father’s friend John Brace. Brace, a former detective superintendent, is in prison and Vera had a hand in the incarceration for his crimes.Vera’s own upbringing and history are tied to her investigation. She puts the multi-faceted pieces together with a fierce, relentless determination even th The order comes out of chaos in this fascinating missing person/crime investigation.Detective Vera Stanhope is led to the discovery of two bodies buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay by her late father’s friend John Brace. Brace, a former detective superintendent, is in prison and Vera had a hand in the incarceration for his crimes.Vera’s own upbringing and history are tied to her investigation. She puts the multi-faceted pieces together with a fierce, relentless determination even though some memories and new discoveries are painful to her. The characters in the novel are superbly built alongside the historical reconstruction needed to unveil the complex plot to get to the truth.The investigation is tangled and messy and mesmerising. But Vera knows the people involved and has an insight into their greedy, self-enriching motives. But out of the many complex characters who are responsible for the two dead bodies hidden in a culvert together? That is what is most spellbinding in this Vera Stanhope series.BonnieKBreakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    I got hooked on the "Vera" series when it first aired on Acorn TV and then on "Shetland." However as much as I love to read British mysteries, somehow Ann Cleeves' work eluded me, so this was actually my first. What a pleasure! If you're familiar with the television series you'll recognize the setting and some of the characters and enjoy an intricate story line to tease your puzzle-solving skills. I'm thrilled I've finally discovered this author and can't wait to go back and read some of her ear I got hooked on the "Vera" series when it first aired on Acorn TV and then on "Shetland." However as much as I love to read British mysteries, somehow Ann Cleeves' work eluded me, so this was actually my first. What a pleasure! If you're familiar with the television series you'll recognize the setting and some of the characters and enjoy an intricate story line to tease your puzzle-solving skills. I'm thrilled I've finally discovered this author and can't wait to go back and read some of her earlier works. (ARC)
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  • Kathy Daso
    January 1, 1970
    Vera is outstanding in this story that takes her back to her youth and her thieving father. I read and could not stop to make sure Vera proved herself again with her great understanding of people. She is a character I'd love to have a cup of tea with and would love for her to call me "pet". More Vera!!
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  • Moirad
    January 1, 1970
    Latest Vera Stanhope novel, dealing with a cold case, a corrupt imprisoned policeman, dodgy businessmen who had links to Vera's father, and a wonderfully evocative picture of Whitley Bay, which doesn't cover up its shortcomings, but manages to make it somehow appealing. An excellent quick read.
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