The VERA books in order:
More about The Crow Trap
More about Telling Tales
More about Hidden Depths
More about Silent Voices
More about The Glass Room
More about Harbour Street
More about The Moth Catcher
More about The Seagull
The latest case for Ann Cleeves' brilliant but unglamourous detective, DI Vera Stanhope, is The Seagull. Ann's gripping novel, which was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2018, was also the basis for the fourth and final episode of TV's latest series of VERA. The book is the eighth case for Vera, published simultaneously in the UK (by Pan MacMillan) and in the US (by Minotaur Books) on September 2017. It is now also available in paperback and audio editions.
The book opens when a visit to her local prison brings Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was a close friend of Hector, her father; then he was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper - and Vera played a part in his downfall.Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, 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.
A recent Radio Times poll asked viewers to name the best British crime drama of all time: and Ann Cleeves' creations were ranked in the top 10 not once but twice! The poll, which received over 10,000 votes, put VERA at sixth place (and Shetland at ninth). Based on Ann Cleeves's novels and characters, VERA follows the inimitable Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope as she tries to crack some of the toughest cases in Northumberland. The drama series is produced by Silverprint Pictures and stars Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope, assisted by Kenny Doughty, Jon Morrison, Riley Jones and Ibinabo Jack.
Despite Vera's continuing - and growing - success, Ann Cleeves told Shots Magazine that The Crow Trap (the first Vera Stanhope novel) was originally intended as a standalone novel. But "I liked Vera Stanhope so much that I brought her back, first in Telling Tales and now in Hidden Depths. She developed because I was so cross with even feminist writers writing female central characters who were young, fit and beautiful. Vera isn't any of those things. She's overweight and middle-aged." - "more Nero Wolfe than V I Warshawski", as Jake Kerridge put it in The Telegraph!
VERA's case files
ITV have announced that there will be a tenth series of VERA, based on Ann's characters and settings and starring multi-award-winning Brenda Blethyn. The cast will be filming in the North East in the summer of 2019, and four new episodes will be broadcast in 2020. Meanwhile, series nine is now available on DVD, initially in the UK only. All eight previous series are now available in both region 1 and region 2 formats. They have been widely broadcast; VERA was nominated for an Edgar Award, for Dark Road, the first episode of series 6 (an original screenplay by Martha Hillier). VERA was ranked sixth best TV series of all time in a recent poll. In February 2019 it won the Judges' Award at the Royal Television Society NE Awards in Gateshead.
Use the links to order your choice of DVD from Amazon, using the links below; look out for them in the shops - and VERA is also becoming available to stream on a number of catch-up services!
- Order series 1 on DVD from Amazon UK (region 2 format) or from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order series 2 from Amazon UK (region 2 format); or from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order Series 3 from Amazon.UK (region 2 format) or from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order Series 4 from Amazon.UK (region 2 format) or from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order Series 5 from Amazon UK (region 2 format) or from from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order Series 6 from Amazon UK - or from Amazon.com (Region 1).
- Order series 7 from Amazon.UK (Region 2 only) or from Amazon.com in US format.
- Series 8 is now available on DVD in the UK (region 2), and in the US and Canada (region 1). Also available in the US on BritBox or via Amazon.com.
VERA is filmed at locations from across Northumberland and Tyneside: if the scenery gives you an urge to visit Northumberland, you can read what Ann has to say about the county here. The Guardian also published Ann's short guide to Vera's Northumberland.
Vera in Short
Just can't get enough of Vera? If you've read all the novels, and watched all the TV dramas, have you read the short stories?
Ann's contribution to The Starlings and Other Stories (which she has also edited), is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope. For this collection of twelve short stories, Ann invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad writers' group to join her, with an accomplice, in writing a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson.
The Starlings and Other Stories was first published by Graffeg on 7th September 2015. You can see a preview (and place an order) on the publisher's website or order a copy from Amazon UK or from Amazon.com.
Ann has previously used short stories as an opportunity to explore Vera's past: The Habit of Silence, one of Ann's contributions to Best Eaten Cold, the second anthology of stories from Ann and her colleagues in the Murder Squad, reveals something more about Vera Stanhope, the woman she is now and the past that made her. Another short story, Hector's Other Woman, was first published in Guilty Consciences, the new anthology from the prestigious Crime Writers' Association, and is now reissued in Ann's short story collection, Offshore.
Read more about these and all Ann Cleeves's short stories.
"I do love Vera!"
"If you like the TV series, you're in for a treat - because the atmospheric but realistic books are even better."
"... one of the most appealing fictional detectives to emerge since Andy Dalziel got into his stride..."
Martin Edwards, Spinetingler Magazine
"... although she is lonely, obsessed with her job and over fond of a beer, Vera is one of the few fictional detectives who seems not only like a real person, but one capable of conducting a murder enquiry. Ann Cleeves brings the same skill to all her characterisations in this highly impressive story."
Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph