The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9)
From Ann Cleeves--New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows--comes the stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening.Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.--Louise PennyAs a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves' latest. . . . A stunning debut for Cleeves' latest crimefighter.--David Baldacci on The Long Call On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It's also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there's a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family's complicated past.

The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9) Details

TitleThe Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9)
Author
ReleaseSep 8th, 2020
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250204509
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Suspense, European Literature, British Literature, Crime

The Darkest Evening (Vera Stanhope, #9) Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    Ann Cleeves latest offering in the DCI Vera Stanhope, set in the atmospheric location of Northumberland, is a delight with its Christie echoes of a country house and estate, a young woman found murdered in the grounds in a heavy snow blizzard, as a party and much merriment takes place inside. This is a story of a small community, the many and varied natures of families, what holds them together, what rips them apart, the dysfunctional nature of many, class and inequality, along with landowners a Ann Cleeves latest offering in the DCI Vera Stanhope, set in the atmospheric location of Northumberland, is a delight with its Christie echoes of a country house and estate, a young woman found murdered in the grounds in a heavy snow blizzard, as a party and much merriment takes place inside. This is a story of a small community, the many and varied natures of families, what holds them together, what rips them apart, the dysfunctional nature of many, class and inequality, along with landowners and their links with locals that still have the unescapable whiff of feudalism about them, shaped by their history and obligations. On her way home, Vera finds herself lost in the heavy snow blizzard when she comes across a abandoned vehicle with its door open and a well wrapped toddler strapped in the back. Assuming the driver has gone for help, Vera takes the toddler, leaving behind her business card, looking for the missing parent. She stumbles across the closest building, Brockburn, which turns out to be the country pile of her estranged aristocratic family, she has not seen any of them for a very long time, her father, Hector, shunned as the black sheep of the family. Her cousin, Juliet, married to theatre director, Mark Bolitho, recognises the overweight, shambolic, and unfashionable Vera, providing sanctuary to her and the toddler, Thomas. Before long, the body of his mother, Lorna Falstone, a woman with mental health issues, having suffered from and been hospitalised for anorexia, is discovered bludgeoned to death outside. Lorna is a single mother, the father of her son, Thomas, has been kept a closely guarded secret from all, although as might be expected, rumours swirl aplenty, along with those of Lorna's parentage that had plagued her since her schooldays. In the search for the truth, Vera sifts through a host of suspects, looking for viable motives, in the process of which many a secret held closely amongst families and others is revealed.Vera takes many a walk, leaving her mind free to think and make unlikely connections as she closes in on a killer, she is supported by her team of DS Joe Ashworth and DC Holly Jackman. Joe's wife, Sal, remains unhappy with how much Joe's job encroaches on their family life and children, but Joe needs his job, he needs that outlet to escape his claustrophobic family, and Vera is happy to be the bad guy that Sal blames. Holly and Vera begin to see each other a little more clearly, developing a stronger relationship with each other. We learn of Vera's past, her family, the care she had to provide for her father. It is the concept of the family that holds centre stage here, Juliet's yearnings for a child, the happy families facades that turn out to be not so, the threats and obsessions that lurk in the shadows for the unsuspecting family, the estrangements, the betrayal, the infidelities, the secrets, rumours and deception. A tantalisingly engaging, riveting and entertaining crime read, a welcome return of the blunt, straight talking Vera in her latest case with its hints of the darkest of fairytales, amidst the central place held in the narrative of the bitter wintry rural location, with its creepy and menacing forestry plantations, and the beautiful inclusion of a Robert Frost poem. Highly recommended! Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for an ARC.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I imagine myself curling up on the couch, wrapping up my blanket, sipping my brandy, sitting next to fireplace, hearing the fire crackling sound as it is snowing and cold outside when I’m reading this heart throbbing, dark mystery. But instead of that I’m wearing baggy sweatpants, it’s sunny outside, birds are chirping and I’m drinking ginger-cayenne-lemon shots! Welcome to my quarantine read! But thanks to the author’s world building, I can visualize myself at somewhere else! After being addict I imagine myself curling up on the couch, wrapping up my blanket, sipping my brandy, sitting next to fireplace, hearing the fire crackling sound as it is snowing and cold outside when I’m reading this heart throbbing, dark mystery. But instead of that I’m wearing baggy sweatpants, it’s sunny outside, birds are chirping and I’m drinking ginger-cayenne-lemon shots! Welcome to my quarantine read! But thanks to the author’s world building, I can visualize myself at somewhere else! After being addicted to watch British crime thriller series: ”Vera’ based on the books, I was so keen to read the ninth installment, welcome Vera Stanhope with opened arms and enjoy her quirkiness, unkempt looks, sharp, harsh but smart comments and her berating/ caring kind of interesting relationship dynamics with her colleagues Joe and Holly. This time the murder investigation dragged Vera to her own past, estranged family ties and unresolved matters. At the first snowy night of the winter, Vera acts stubborn to drive her car into expected snow storm and eventually she misses her turn and finds a car left abandoned, skidded off the narrow road, front door is open. As soon as she leaves her own car to check what’s going on, she hears a baby cry warns her something is terribly wrong. She takes the baby who left alone at the back seat of the car, leaves her business card to inform the mother if she comes back to look for her baby. She still thinks maybe the mother left the car to find proper reception for her phone. Her steps take her to the grandiose mansion Brockburn- the very same place where her father a.k.a. black sheep of the family, Hector grew up and estranged from the wealthy, privileged, pretentious family members. She knocks their door to use their phone and finds out there is Christmas party/ her cousin’s husband Mark’s fundraising party for his new art project. Her cousin Juliet reluctantly welcomes her but as Vera realizes, Juliet was more interested in the baby she is holding in her hands. As Vera calls her team for back up and giving a call the owner of the car: Constance Browne, she finds out the car must have been borrowed by her young neighbor Lorna Falstone who has a little baby. And a few minutes later a farmer neighbor, driving a tractor to pick up her daughters from the party who were serving as waitresses appear in the kitchen where Vera resumes making her phone calls. The guy is in panic because he found a dead woman in the back yard. Unfortunately the brutally killed woman is Lorna who is also the mother of the little baby. This investigation brings out the dirty secrets of the family and verifying the small town gossips: Lorna and Juliet might be step sisters or Lorna may have an affair with Juliet’s husband who may be also the secret father of the baby. Vera’s intense investigation forces her to face her sad, lonely times of her childhood, ill-fated relationship with her father and condescending manners of her estranged relatives. And she finds herself to empathize more with the victim who suffered from anorexia to slowly disappear from the surface of the earth and then she finds her strength to raise her child alone but her efforts resulted with tragic end. You want to drink cups of tea and eating biscuits throughout your read and enjoy the dark, gripping mystery with the quirky, straightforward, also entertaining tactics of Vera. This is not one of my favorite books of the series but it was unputdownable page-turner and I highly recommend crime thriller lovers and series’ fans.Special thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s press/Minotaur Books for sharing this one of my favorite series’ ARC copy in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded up. This is a police procedural set in Northumbria, England. It is book 9 in the Vera Stanhope series. I have read 2 other books by this author, 1 of them, The Crow Trap in the Vera Stanhope series. That book did not introduce Vera until 1/3rd of the way into the book. This book introduces Vera at the beginning. She finds an abandoned vehicle in a snowstorm. The vehicle has a baby in it. Vera goes to a nearby house, owned by distant relatives, to call in her team to start a sea 3.5 stars rounded up. This is a police procedural set in Northumbria, England. It is book 9 in the Vera Stanhope series. I have read 2 other books by this author, 1 of them, The Crow Trap in the Vera Stanhope series. That book did not introduce Vera until 1/3rd of the way into the book. This book introduces Vera at the beginning. She finds an abandoned vehicle in a snowstorm. The vehicle has a baby in it. Vera goes to a nearby house, owned by distant relatives, to call in her team to start a search for the missing mother. The mother is found dead. Vera discovers that the mother, Lorna Falstone, was murdered. Vera and her team(she is a DCI-Detective Chief Inspector) , begin investigating and interviewing. There is another murder, but Vera and her team eliminate suspects. I didn't suspect the killer until it was revealed at the end.Pros: The plot is fast paced, the characters are well written and believable, which adds up to an entertaining story.Cons: The author has Vera, an out of shape, middle aged woman putting herself in danger by going after the killer alone. Police officers are taught to have a partner for safety reasons.Thank You St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for sending me the eARC through NetGalley
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    I have watched every episode of Vera, but until now, have not read any of the books. My mistake! This is a well done police procedural. No fast paced craziness here. Just good solid investigating by a solid team. The book is very character driven, not just the team but every person in the village and how they interconnect. The premise is that on a snowy night, Vera comes upon an abandoned car on the side of the road. Driver door open, with a baby still in the back seat. She takes the baby to the I have watched every episode of Vera, but until now, have not read any of the books. My mistake! This is a well done police procedural. No fast paced craziness here. Just good solid investigating by a solid team. The book is very character driven, not just the team but every person in the village and how they interconnect. The premise is that on a snowy night, Vera comes upon an abandoned car on the side of the road. Driver door open, with a baby still in the back seat. She takes the baby to the nearest house, the manor house of the village, which is actually owned by her estranged relatives. Within hours, the driver of the car turns up dead on their driveway. Because of the connection with her family, we learn about Vera’s past, her black sheep father and her lonely childhood. I enjoyed Cleeves’ writing, which made it very easy to see the scenes play out in my head. Maybe because I’ve seen the tv show, this worked fine as a stand alone. But now that I’ve read this one, I intend to go back and read the others. I recommend this for those who like team oriented police procedurals by the likes of Archer Mayor, Louise Penny or Joy Ellis. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to St. Martin's/Minataur Press, Ann Cleeves and Netgalley.I've been wanting to read one of these Vera Stanhope books for a very long time! I saw this come up on Netgalley, and hoped that it would work as a standalone. It did!I found a place in my heart for these characters. Vera especially is brash and take charge. That's my kinda woman! But, what I loved most was the location! I'm just one of those folk who needs to feel comfortable where the action is. I could live here! I would actu My thanks to St. Martin's/Minataur Press, Ann Cleeves and Netgalley.I've been wanting to read one of these Vera Stanhope books for a very long time! I saw this come up on Netgalley, and hoped that it would work as a standalone. It did!I found a place in my heart for these characters. Vera especially is brash and take charge. That's my kinda woman! But, what I loved most was the location! I'm just one of those folk who needs to feel comfortable where the action is. I could live here! I would actually be happy as a pig 🐖in a poke up here in Northeastern England. What surprised me was how taken in I was. The villain? Didn't even cross my mind! Another thing that surprised me, and bothered me from the beginning was how naive a few of these Detectives were. How can you be shocked that so many families are so messed up, and be a detective! Surely you must be a constable then take an exam to become a detective. As a Constable, you're going to see the real world. Even in a small area? I also enjoyed Holly. I like watching police grow, and she's a smart one!Still, those final pages were heartstopping. Seriously, I had to quit reading at least 8 times. I know that Homicide detectives in the U.K, don't have guns, but really a nightstick or a stun gun would save me from having multiple heart attacks! I'd read more Stanhope books.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    Grabbing the latest book in this series is a no-brainer for a couple of reasons. First, I know I’m in for a well written, twisty murder mystery. Second, I get to spend time with the wonderful Brenda Blethyn. Ever since I saw her portrayal of Vera Stanhope, she’s become the voice in my head as I read these books. And that’s no bad thing. The story begins when Vera ends up with a baby. But not the usual way. In the middle of a blizzard, she comes across an abandoned car with a tiny person inside. Grabbing the latest book in this series is a no-brainer for a couple of reasons. First, I know I’m in for a well written, twisty murder mystery. Second, I get to spend time with the wonderful Brenda Blethyn. Ever since I saw her portrayal of Vera Stanhope, she’s become the voice in my head as I read these books. And that’s no bad thing. The story begins when Vera ends up with a baby. But not the usual way. In the middle of a blizzard, she comes across an abandoned car with a tiny person inside. Their only hope is to make it to the nearest house which just happens to be the ancestral home of her father’s estranged family. Awkward.And so Vera is reunited with snooty matriarch Harriet, her daughter Juliet & son-in-law Mark. She hasn’t seen this side of the family since childhood & it sets up an interesting dynamic. But any chit-chat will have to wait as Vera calls in reinforcements to deal with the baby, the car…..wait, where is the mom? By the time help arrives, there’s another more pressing question: who is the dead woman in the back yard? And we’re off. Joe, Holly & all the regulars are back as the team tries to identify a killer who is hiding in plain sight. Motive is key to solving the case & as Vera digs with her typical persistence, family secrets & hidden ties are revealed. Appearances can deceive & even the happiest families have fault lines, soft spots that must be protected to maintain a facade. The plotting is excellent & there are several credible “killers” to choose from. But what elevates the story is the addition of Vera’s personal history & present day interaction with long lost relatives. As local connections are uncovered, she has to wonder if her family knows more than they’re telling. They remember her as the awkward, frumpy daughter of the family’s black sheep. She may still be all those things but now she’s also an intuitive cop with the power to sort through & air their dirty laundry. Picking up one of these books is like bumping into old friends. I love Vera & enjoy watching as criminals underestimate her at their own expense. Joe continues to be her long suffering righthand man while Holly’s character & relationship with the boss is further developed. The pages fly by driven by a steady pace, clever dialogue & well rounded characters. By the end, the woman’s death is not the only mystery solved as Vera gains new insight into her father that may help put some of her personal demons to rest.
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  • Carolyn
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to NetGalley and St.Martins Press for this compelling ARC. I had never read this series but found it worked very well as a stand-alone. I have been streaming and enjoying the TV series, Vera, and now intend to read more books by Ann Cleeves. The Darkest Night is character-driven and also very descriptive. Set in modern times in a small, rural English village, there are throwbacks to an earlier era and way of life. Centre to the story is a family of landed gentry living in Brockburn, Many thanks to NetGalley and St.Martins Press for this compelling ARC. I had never read this series but found it worked very well as a stand-alone. I have been streaming and enjoying the TV series, Vera, and now intend to read more books by Ann Cleeves. The Darkest Night is character-driven and also very descriptive. Set in modern times in a small, rural English village, there are throwbacks to an earlier era and way of life. Centre to the story is a family of landed gentry living in Brockburn, a grand mansion needing repairs. Living on their vast property are farm families and an educated woman who helps around the mansion in return for a cottage on their land. It reminded me of the feudal system of the past. Vera, a dedicated police officer, is related to the Stanhopes who own Brockburn and its surrounding land. Her father grew up in the mansion but became estranged from the family. Vera is uneasy around the Stanhopes. She is a dowdy, middle-aged, overweight detective but astute and hard working. The rumpled, plain spoken Vera is aware of a condescending and disdainful attitude from the stylish, sophisticated lady of the mansion. The story takes place in mid-winter with Christmas approaching with a chill ever-present. The homes lack central heating and even the great mansion offers little warmth. The village is a hotbed for gossip, misinformation, and rumour. This is a well-constructed novel focusing on a police investigation by Vera and her team. She is gruff with them but keeps them well motivated and grateful for any praise. The detailed descriptions slowed down the pace and suspense for me, but the solution to the mystery was hard to predict. Vera becomes lost while driving in heavy snow. She notices a car abandoned in the blizzard with the driver’s door wide open and discovers a baby in the backseat. It seems the mother must have started walking to find help. Vera arrives at Brockburn carrying the infant, the home of her distant, estranged relatives where a party is in progress. Her complicated perception of this family and their attitude towards her deepens the characterization. As the party winds down a woman’s body is discovered in the snow outside. and the verdict is murder. Soon another dead woman is found in the forest. Are the killings connected and what are the motives? Vera and her team must sort through a series of secrets, illicit affairs, lies, alibis and rumours to solve this tangled and intriguing mystery.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    I love this author. I love her plots and her characters, and of course the setting. This is from the series she wrote first. Vera Stanhope is older, kind of clunky and frumpy, but she has a first rate mind. Once again in Vera, she has assembled a very likable, relatable character and a team to go with.This mystery hits close to home for Vera, to a place she has never been accepted or included. Vera though little cares what others think of her, though she does have moments of introspection. She i I love this author. I love her plots and her characters, and of course the setting. This is from the series she wrote first. Vera Stanhope is older, kind of clunky and frumpy, but she has a first rate mind. Once again in Vera, she has assembled a very likable, relatable character and a team to go with.This mystery hits close to home for Vera, to a place she has never been accepted or included. Vera though little cares what others think of her, though she does have moments of introspection. She is close to retirement, but has no intention of doing so soon, her work, her team is her life.Like the Shetland series, Vera, played by the wonderful Brenda Blethyn, can also be streamed. It's a wonderful show and a fantastic series. Although this is the ninth in series, this can be read as a standalone. I've watched them all and now when I read these books I picture her character as the one she plays on television. It is a perfect typecast.ARC from Edelweiss
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  • Lori Lamothe
    January 1, 1970
    Apparently I'm living under a rock because I'd never read anything by Ann Cleeves and had no idea there's a TV series that features protagonist Vera Stanhope. I can't say I'm sorry though, because now I've got a new author to devour. Cleeves knows her craft and The Darkest Evening is a well done whodunit Agatha Christie style. It's beautifully written, expertly plotted and every character exerted some sort of pull on me. And have I mentioned I didn't figure out the murderer's identity until 91 p Apparently I'm living under a rock because I'd never read anything by Ann Cleeves and had no idea there's a TV series that features protagonist Vera Stanhope. I can't say I'm sorry though, because now I've got a new author to devour. Cleeves knows her craft and The Darkest Evening is a well done whodunit Agatha Christie style. It's beautifully written, expertly plotted and every character exerted some sort of pull on me. And have I mentioned I didn't figure out the murderer's identity until 91 percent into my Kindle read? That's a solid five stars as far as I'm concerned.The ninth installment in the series begins when DCI Stanhope gets lost in a Northumberland snowstorm and comes across a car that has veered off the road. The door's open and there's a baby inside, with no sign of the driver. Which is bad enough. Even worse that the closest house is a crumbling mansion that belongs to her distant relations, the branch of the clan that uses "politeness as a weapon of mass destruction.” It's nearly Christmas and there's a party in full swing. When her cousin Juliet opens the door, she initially takes the disheveled, middle-aged detective for a homeless person. When she recognizes Vera, she's faced with a dilemma. Must she invite this person in? But Vera has her own issues. Re the Baby, which she has no idea how to handle. “Do you think I could bring it in?” she asks a little desperately. I was hooked from this point on. Even though I'd never the read the other books, the investigative team comes to life, as do all the other suspects. Ironically, the victim was the most vivid character for me, but everyone has their secrets, their agendas, their longings, disappointments and passions. This is a proper procedural and it slowly but relentlessly builds the suspense. The ending isn't over-the-top and every single loose end is tied up, even one that relates to some avocados. The English village setting was also lovely, not in the pretty sense of the word, but in a more evocative way. Clearly, Cleeves understands the complicated class and interpersonal dynamics of such a place but she also conveys a sense of its strange, magnetic power. Like the murdered Lorna, who painted the same forest cabin over and over, there's something about the Grimm's fairy-tale setting that doesn't want to let you go. To quote the Robert Frost poem that the title takes its name from - “the woods are lovely, dark and deep...” Cleeves seems to be saying something larger about the things that catch hold of us beyond all reason. Sometimes we can escape them. Sometimes not. Much thanks to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Gentle and persistent snow turns into heavy blizzards.That's what Inspector Vera Stanhope comes face-to-face with when leaving the police station one evening. All that swirling and blurring has played havoc on her sense of direction. A missed turn here or there in the Northumberland countryside can frost you in more ways than one.Vera's windshield clears for a brief moment and she spots a white vehicle left to the side of the road with the door open. Vera pulls over to help. She peers inside and Gentle and persistent snow turns into heavy blizzards.That's what Inspector Vera Stanhope comes face-to-face with when leaving the police station one evening. All that swirling and blurring has played havoc on her sense of direction. A missed turn here or there in the Northumberland countryside can frost you in more ways than one.Vera's windshield clears for a brief moment and she spots a white vehicle left to the side of the road with the door open. Vera pulls over to help. She peers inside and finds a toddler strapped in his carseat alone. With no one else in sight, Vera surmises that the adult went for help. No way was she going to leave this child abandoned in a blizzard. Carseat and child are transferred to Vera's Land Rover.And here's where Vera will come to find that she's got more than what she bargained for. Vera pulls into the first driveway of a well-lit house. Memories hit her straight on. It's the Brockburn House. Our Vera is on the bottom rung of the well-heeled Stanhopes and this is their mansion and its surrounding acreage. She's greeted by a distant cousin who brings Vera and newly found child in. We'll get an eye full of the comings and goings here.But before long a woman's body is found near the entrance of the Brockburn House. The identity of this woman will send Vera and her team (DC Holly Jackman and Sgt. Joe Ashworth) into a maze of detective work. And Ann Cleeves is not one to give away the store on the first outing. This one will have more likely murderers than you can swing a stick at. The lineup of guilty faces is remarkable.The Darkest Evening can be read as a standalone. Even if this is your first go-round with Vera Stanhope, you'll be drawn in by her straightforward, no frills, arrow-sharp personality and her sleuthing skills to match. Cleeves does herself proud in this one that entertains as well as wickedly holds back that final card until the end. Fine detective work and fine writing as always in this superb series.I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Minotaur Books (St. Martin's Press) and to the talented Ann Cleeves for the opportunity.
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  • Producervan in Cornville, AZ from New Orleans & L.A.
    January 1, 1970
    The Darkest Evening, a Vera Stanhope novel (Vera Stanhope #9) by Ann Cleeves. St. Martin's Press. Minotaur Books. Mystery & Thrillers. Publication date: 08 Sep 2020. 374 pages. ISBN: 9781250204509. Electronic ARC. 5 Stars.This is my second Ann Cleeves read, and I think she’s fantastic. I liked this standalone even better than the last. Pitch perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book featuring Ann Cleeves’ superstar character, Vera, as well as her use of regional slang words like ‘cack-hande The Darkest Evening, a Vera Stanhope novel (Vera Stanhope #9) by Ann Cleeves. St. Martin's Press. Minotaur Books. Mystery & Thrillers. Publication date: 08 Sep 2020. 374 pages. ISBN: 9781250204509. Electronic ARC. 5 Stars.This is my second Ann Cleeves read, and I think she’s fantastic. I liked this standalone even better than the last. Pitch perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book featuring Ann Cleeves’ superstar character, Vera, as well as her use of regional slang words like ‘cack-handed’ and ‘knaa’ and ‘hinny’ for honey… This mystery gets your attention and keeps it forever! Great tie-up at the end. Highly recommend!Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Books for providing this ebook ARC for review.
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    I'm somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star on this one. It was my first outing with Ann Cleeves and I must say I was charmed! This is well into the Vera Stanhope series, but I had not read any of the previous books & I can safely say you don't need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one. While this is not my very favorite trope (an isolated closed circle mystery), it does have a lot of elements I enjoy in a procedural whodunnit: small town/rural setting, the claustrophobia o I'm somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star on this one. It was my first outing with Ann Cleeves and I must say I was charmed! This is well into the Vera Stanhope series, but I had not read any of the previous books & I can safely say you don't need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one. While this is not my very favorite trope (an isolated closed circle mystery), it does have a lot of elements I enjoy in a procedural whodunnit: small town/rural setting, the claustrophobia of movement being restricted by snow, a big old country house with suspicious characters, and a lovely rapport between the recurring series characters. This wasn't revolutionary, but if you are like me & like your mystery on the cozier end of the spectrum, I think this will be a delightful little whodunnit for you to enjoy
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  • Amy Imogene Reads
    January 1, 1970
    This will be my first Vera mystery, and my first Ann Cleves. Very excited to read this and sink into another great mystery writer's series. Thank you to the publisher for my copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
  • Linden
    January 1, 1970
    I am an avid mystery reader, and particularly enjoy British police procedurals. This is the first Very Stanhope book I've read; I don't know how I missed this series! Vera is a plain-spoken, rather dumpy middle aged woman who is a perceptive police officer. She is driving in a snowstorm when she comes upon a car with it door open and a baby strapped in the back. She takes the baby to a nearby country house, and the investigation starts. Who would leave an infant in the car with the door open in I am an avid mystery reader, and particularly enjoy British police procedurals. This is the first Very Stanhope book I've read; I don't know how I missed this series! Vera is a plain-spoken, rather dumpy middle aged woman who is a perceptive police officer. She is driving in a snowstorm when she comes upon a car with it door open and a baby strapped in the back. She takes the baby to a nearby country house, and the investigation starts. Who would leave an infant in the car with the door open in a blizzard? What happened to the driver? And, of course, who is the murderer? A well-written and suspenseful novel with great characters--recommended for fans of Deborah Crombie, P.D. James, and Martha Grimes.
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  • Judy
    January 1, 1970
    Another great mystery from Cleeves! The setting is Northumbria, Englad and this time Vera is driving home from work on the first snowy evening of the year. She misses a turn and as she's traveling she sees a car off the side of the road. A car door is open. Vera stops and the driver is not there (Vera assumes they have gone for help), but as she turns to leave she hears a cry and finds a child in the back. Vera takes the child and proceeds along to the road to the estate of a distant relative. T Another great mystery from Cleeves! The setting is Northumbria, Englad and this time Vera is driving home from work on the first snowy evening of the year. She misses a turn and as she's traveling she sees a car off the side of the road. A car door is open. Vera stops and the driver is not there (Vera assumes they have gone for help), but as she turns to leave she hears a cry and finds a child in the back. Vera takes the child and proceeds along to the road to the estate of a distant relative. They are in the middle of a party inside while Vera is checking to see if they have seen the mother. As the party is ending, a neighbor comes in and has found a body outside near the house. It's pretty obvious the woman has been murdered.Vera and her team investigte the murder and have to wade through some secrets, rumors, and lies as they try to find the truth. Kept my attention and was an enjoyable mystery.Thanks to St. Martin's Press through Netgalley for an advance copy.
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  • Christina McDonald
    January 1, 1970
    A complex, compelling and chilling detective murder-mystery, The Darkest Evening evokes images of curling up next to a crackling fire in a grand house with a cup of tea and a few biscuits while you read.A darkly, propulsive story, we follow Vera, who starts off home after work in a snowstorm and comes upon a car that’s been abandoned by the road. The driver’s door has been left open and inside is a baby. As she tries to find the child’s parent, she soon stumbles across a dead body.Throughout the A complex, compelling and chilling detective murder-mystery, The Darkest Evening evokes images of curling up next to a crackling fire in a grand house with a cup of tea and a few biscuits while you read.A darkly, propulsive story, we follow Vera, who starts off home after work in a snowstorm and comes upon a car that’s been abandoned by the road. The driver’s door has been left open and inside is a baby. As she tries to find the child’s parent, she soon stumbles across a dead body.Throughout the story, we learn about Vera’s childhood, and her relationship with her estranged relatives, as well as about dirt secrets the family has worked hard to cover.There is a long list of possible suspects, yet it never feels unwieldy or overwhelming. Each character is very well described with each having their own unique character arc. Ann Cleeves has cleverly crafted a traditional detective story with admirable skill, managing to evoke a stunning atmosphere amidst the flawless plot.The Darkest Evening is the second in the Vera series and can be read as a standalone or as part of a series. I highly recommend for British crime thriller fans.Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a good mystery which good characters. It's #9 in a series, that was new to me. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the series from the beginning. I also found the long descriptions tedious and made the book slow going. However, the last part of the book went faster though and was good. Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for the ARC of this book!
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  • Jeanne
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I've read in the Vera Stanhope series. I didn't feel like I was missing anything starting with the 9th book. Vera is lost in a winter storm when she comes upon an abandoned car and inside is a toddler. She carries it to the first home she sees which happens to be her ancestral home, Brockburn. A body of a young woman is found outside in the snow and the mystery starts. I wouldn't call this a thriller but definitely a mystery. Vera, her two assistants, Joe and Holley, put t This is the first book I've read in the Vera Stanhope series. I didn't feel like I was missing anything starting with the 9th book. Vera is lost in a winter storm when she comes upon an abandoned car and inside is a toddler. She carries it to the first home she sees which happens to be her ancestral home, Brockburn. A body of a young woman is found outside in the snow and the mystery starts. I wouldn't call this a thriller but definitely a mystery. Vera, her two assistants, Joe and Holley, put together a bunch of clues. The ending was good, not heart stopping but satisfactory. I liked Vera. She seemed to be happy in her skin, knew how to handle her crew and was steadfast with a good sense of humor. I look forward to going back and starting the series in the beginning to learn more about her. Thank you to Netgalley for providing me the opportunity to read the book.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and St Martins Press for the ARC of this book!Ann is fantastic at painting a picture. In this case, a bone-chilling, cold, and dark thriller where you can almost feel the cold. Her writing really makes you feel a character's anguish. Solid throughout and easy to get through without being dumbed down. Another nice addition to the Vera Stanhope series.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Ann Cleeves always gets my attention and keeps it. Her skillful plotting and her vivid depictions of Vera in action are something I look forward to.Blizzard-like conditions contrive to make Vera Stanhope miss the right turn-off on her way home. As she drives through the snow, she spots a car off the road. When she stops to check, she finds the driver side door open and a toddler in the back seat. With no sign of the driver, Vera takes the toddler her with to the closet house, which happens to be Ann Cleeves always gets my attention and keeps it. Her skillful plotting and her vivid depictions of Vera in action are something I look forward to.Blizzard-like conditions contrive to make Vera Stanhope miss the right turn-off on her way home. As she drives through the snow, she spots a car off the road. When she stops to check, she finds the driver side door open and a toddler in the back seat. With no sign of the driver, Vera takes the toddler her with to the closet house, which happens to be that of estranged relatives. The wealthier and more sophisticated Stanhopes have a dinner party in progress, and despite her reluctance, Vera has no choice but to interrupt it.Sitting in the kitchen, checking with the police, Vera is shocked when the little boy's mother is found dead by a neighboring farmer who arrived on a tractor to pick up his daughters who were acting as waitresses for the Stanhope dinner.The Darkest Evening kept me engrossed throughout, and I sped right through it, a little annoyed with my husband's interruptions in the afternoon. :) Two slight changes from previous books made me like it even more. Of course, Vera is a bit unkempt and she is brusque with her colleagues, but she is a sharp and observant detective. It is particularly interesting to see the way Vera sees Joe and Holly--her team, and the way they view her.The Darkest Evening is the 9th in the series, but can function as a stand-alone. Ann Cleeves has another winner in this one. I recently saw this quote about Vera and found it apt: "... one of the most appealing fictional detectives to emerge since Andy Dalziel got into his stride..."Martin Edwards, Spinetingler MagazineRead in May. Blog review scheduled for August 21, 2020.NetGalley/St. Martin's PressPolice Procedural/Mystery. Sept. 8. 2020. Print length: 384 pages.
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  • Maranda
    January 1, 1970
    Vera Stanhope is a unique character invented by Ann Cleeves. As Vera travels on a blizzard of a night she finds herself deep not only in snow but an abandoned vehicle with an infant inside. Vera is an investigator that has unusual techniques that sometimes prove dangerous. Great WHO DONE IT novel. A copy of this book was provided by St. Martin's Press Via NetGalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
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  • solitaryfossil
    January 1, 1970
    An enjoyable police procedural set in a place I love reading about: the Northumberland countryside, with an intriguing plot/mystery, good solid character writing, and a satisfying ending. Another good read from Ann Cleeves, recommended. Thanks to netgalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.#TheDarkestEvening #NetGalley
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  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    Anne Cleeves is one of the current British authors of fine mysteries who owe thanks to Dame Agatha. But despite being pointed out by Vera Stanhope, her own frowsy Miss Marple counterpart, that her cases "....won't be all country houses, vicars, butler and wills...", this one does have all those element modernized almost as an homage or a wry caricature. This is my second Cleeves novel but my first in the Stanhope series, and it won't be the last. Well done.
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  • Paige
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery! Although this is the ninth book in the Vera Stanhope series, I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone, and I look forward to reading more in this series. I enjoyed the British wintertime setting, and the fact that it involved a small rural town with a large manor house. I also liked that even though this was a true mystery that kept me guessing, the characters were center stage. I can see where this would make an excellent television series. I recommend thi I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery! Although this is the ninth book in the Vera Stanhope series, I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone, and I look forward to reading more in this series. I enjoyed the British wintertime setting, and the fact that it involved a small rural town with a large manor house. I also liked that even though this was a true mystery that kept me guessing, the characters were center stage. I can see where this would make an excellent television series. I recommend this to anyone who fancies a British crime drama.
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    384 pages5 starsDetective Inspector Vera Stanhope is driving home very slowly, chastising herself for leaving the station at all in this weather, when she comes across an abandoned car. The door is left open and there is a baby in a car seat in the back. Not knowing what happened to the mother, she takes the baby to a place of safety. It happens to be the old family pile Brockburn. It belongs to the Stanhopes. Vera has not seen her posh relatives since her own father's funeral. She is not lookin 384 pages5 starsDetective Inspector Vera Stanhope is driving home very slowly, chastising herself for leaving the station at all in this weather, when she comes across an abandoned car. The door is left open and there is a baby in a car seat in the back. Not knowing what happened to the mother, she takes the baby to a place of safety. It happens to be the old family pile Brockburn. It belongs to the Stanhopes. Vera has not seen her posh relatives since her own father's funeral. She is not looking forward to it. When the body of the baby's mother is discovered on Brockburn's grounds, it opens a can of worms for not only Vera's relatives, but the guests who were at the house party when the murder occurred. Vera and her team uncover many secrets in their investigation. Lorna Falstone, the young mother, was semi-estranged from her farming family. She had suffered from anorexia and was hospitalized for it. When another woman is murdered, the stakes rise. The two murders must be related. The two women were friends after all. What follows is an exciting investigation. The identity of the murderer surprised me. I never had that person on my radar. The overweight and disheveled Vera continues to both confound and delight me. I marvel at her ability to detect the truth of a situation. She is abrupt with her team, but at the same time offers them support. I was delighted to learn more history of the Stanhopes and to see Juliet come into her own a bit. It looks as though there may be a future for Vera and Juliet's friendship. Ms. Cleeves' descriptions of the weather made me want to reach for my heavy coat, gloves and hat. I felt the biting cold and relentless wind as well as the characters in the book. This author writes a complete book. Exciting characters, great plot line, superb writing and plotting. I want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for forwarding to me a copy of this remarkable book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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  • Maximilian Birner
    January 1, 1970
    Hm, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this whodunit. Especially the ending. Even though I gave this three stars, I can definitely praise it as a 100% whodunit. We've got our suspects, we've got our detective, we got our murder and it followed the formula from there. I was craving a murder mystery anyway so I'm glad I picked this one up even though I was hesitant because it was in a series. But, if you sound interested, you should still buy it because being ninth in the series didn't change my Hm, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this whodunit. Especially the ending. Even though I gave this three stars, I can definitely praise it as a 100% whodunit. We've got our suspects, we've got our detective, we got our murder and it followed the formula from there. I was craving a murder mystery anyway so I'm glad I picked this one up even though I was hesitant because it was in a series. But, if you sound interested, you should still buy it because being ninth in the series didn't change my opinion of the book at all. You can go into this without knowing anything, unlike other series like Three Pines.We spend most of our time in this book with Vera talking to the different suspects related to the victim, and I did find the dialogue and writing very good. But, I thought some of the suspects were lacking some serious character development to the point where I only had four of them in my mind who seemed important to the story. Lastly, my biggest complaint is the murderer. Or, how the murder was handled. When Vera was talking to some of the less developed characters it felt more of just "let's get more information on the murder" instead of giving us a unique perspective. And when everything was revealed I was a little bit disappointed, it wasn't predictable but I didn't find the motive to be that interesting considering this is a very experienced author. And with some of the details left out in the explanation, it felt like I was putting together a puzzle and someone just took away half the pieces making the end result feeling incomplete.This was a very OK read for me, and note to whodunits everywhere that the murderer doesn't always have to be one of the lesser developed characters.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I received a free DARKEST EVENING by Ann Cleves Arc from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Darkest Evening is the ninth installment of the Vera Stanhope series. Now, I should confess that while I have watched the British mystery series and read some of Cleves’s other series’, this is the first Stanhope I have read. And I enjoyed it. Darkest Evening finds Vera meeting family she has not seen in a very long time as she works to discover the murderer of a young mother who had Disclaimer: I received a free DARKEST EVENING by Ann Cleves Arc from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Darkest Evening is the ninth installment of the Vera Stanhope series. Now, I should confess that while I have watched the British mystery series and read some of Cleves’s other series’, this is the first Stanhope I have read. And I enjoyed it. Darkest Evening finds Vera meeting family she has not seen in a very long time as she works to discover the murderer of a young mother who had recovered from an eating disorder. The story takes place around Christmas and make good use of the setting and time. The snowstorm description that starts the novel is wonderfully done. Cleves captures the A good mystery hinges on the reveal not being revealed to early or being too easy to figure out as well as the reveal making sense. This is the case in the book. What I particularly enjoyed in the novel was the lack of judgement aimed at women who did not want or have children. It is not only just Vera but other women as well and it makes a refreshing change. And let’s talk about Vera for second as well as Holly and Joe. In a world where every single detective seems to have a tragic backstory and multiple health issue, Vera doesn’t. Okay, she has unresolved issues with her father and she is bit prickly, but her backstory is refreshing normal in its tragedy. This isn’t to downplay the common tragedies that we all go though, but there is vast difference between Vera and say Wallander or Harry Hole or even Sherlock Holmes. You would want to get help for at least two of the three men. With Vera, you want to have a whiskey. But it isn’t just Vera; it is also Joe and Holly who are both refreshing “normal” in the general sense of the word. Joe is a family who loves his job and his family while Holly is up coming. Both are non-tragic and fun to read about. Both are smart and strong in different ways, making it a pleasure to read both. The mystery focuses on family secrets and half truths as well as the gossip that keeps any community humming along. The plot does make use of the various tropes that one finds in the lord of manor and mysterious death novels. Is the current lord of the manor the father of the baby? What exactly is the relationship between the married couples like? It is too Cleves credit that the tropes are used but also inverted or twisted. Additionally, even the minor characters are given detail that bring them to life. If you have seen the Vera television series, you will no doubt be picturing Brenda Blethlyn as Vera and hearing her voice as you read, this is not a bad thing.
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  • Sandy
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.I had read the first book in this series - liked it, and planned to read more, but just didn't get to it. Then I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one - but, it was #9. While it was probably not necessary to read 2-8, I decided to go on a Vera Stanhope binge, and read all of them - and now I've finished #9!I was a little afraid of overdosing, but instead, each book in the series made me eager to go on to t Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review.I had read the first book in this series - liked it, and planned to read more, but just didn't get to it. Then I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this one - but, it was #9. While it was probably not necessary to read 2-8, I decided to go on a Vera Stanhope binge, and read all of them - and now I've finished #9!I was a little afraid of overdosing, but instead, each book in the series made me eager to go on to the next. While it's not really necessary to read them in order (the plots stand on their own), there is a great deal of character development, with Vera and with the other members of her team. As the books progress, each of the key characters has developed and we've gotten to know them better.In #8, The Seagull, we started getting into Vera's past, as much of the plot involved her deceased father and his friends. In this book, much of the plot revolves around her father's relatives, with whom she has had little contact, since her father was the black sheep of the family. This adds another dimension to the plot, and especially to Vera's emotional state during the book.As usual, she manages to put together all the information to arrive at a conclusion as to the murderer. She's a smart detective, and part of the fun is watching people underestimate her because of her appearance.I enjoyed this very much, and hope Ms. Cleeves doesn't wait so long to write another in this series!
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    This was my first Vera mystery, and my first Ann Cleeves novel. Although this is #9 in the series, it can be read as a stand alone story. I felt the characters were well developed. A few times in the book, the story seemed to keep repeating itself and I found that to be a bit tedious. Considering the time span of the novel was one week from discovering the body of a young mother to the identification of her killer, it felt much longer. I don't know if this was due to feeling like I was reading t This was my first Vera mystery, and my first Ann Cleeves novel. Although this is #9 in the series, it can be read as a stand alone story. I felt the characters were well developed. A few times in the book, the story seemed to keep repeating itself and I found that to be a bit tedious. Considering the time span of the novel was one week from discovering the body of a young mother to the identification of her killer, it felt much longer. I don't know if this was due to feeling like I was reading the same thing several times or just the style of writing. Having said that, it was still an enjoyable read. I kept trying to determine who the killer was and liked being a little surprised at the answer. There's nothing worse than a murder mystery that is too predictable. The story shows how many families and their lives can be entwined together. I might look into some of the other books in the series.I received this ARC through NetGallery for an honest review.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    Driving home during a snow storm, DCI Vera Stanhope comes across an abandoned car with a toddler inside. Taking the child she drives to the nearest house which happens to belong to her relations where a dinner party is in progress. Not long after at the back of the house a body is discovered.But what could the possible motive be, Stanhope and her team investigate.An entertaining well-written modern crime story with its interesting cast of characters. A fine addition to the series.ARC was provide Driving home during a snow storm, DCI Vera Stanhope comes across an abandoned car with a toddler inside. Taking the child she drives to the nearest house which happens to belong to her relations where a dinner party is in progress. Not long after at the back of the house a body is discovered.But what could the possible motive be, Stanhope and her team investigate.An entertaining well-written modern crime story with its interesting cast of characters. A fine addition to the series.ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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