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New Year, New VERA!

Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope

Series 12 of VERA, the mystery drama series featuring Ann Cleeves' much-loved detective Vera Stanhope, started transmission on Sunday 29th January, rising from the ashes of series 11. Episode 1, Against the Tide, starts when Vera is called to a lighthouse when the body of a local council worker is found in a sailboat... If you missed it, you can still watch it on ITVx. Episode 2. For the Grace of God follows at the same time on February 5th February.

Also available from ITVx, the whole of series 11 - and all past series, too. For those who like to own their box sets on DVD, the full six episodes of series 11 will be released on February 27th and are available for pre-order now.

There's plenty of VERA to look forward to in the coming year. According to the Radio Times, Brenda Blethyn has revealed: "There's been a little wait but Vera fans can look forward to six new feature length episodes, instead of the usual four..."

The six new films also include an adaptation of one of Ann's Vera Stanhope mysteries, The Darkest Evening, which marks the 50th episode of VERA by taking Vera Stanhope back to her roots. Brenda Blethyn said "I feel rather proud of having reached the landmark of 50 episodes, now having filmed 51 in total. I think it's wonderful. A great achievement for everyone involved. Ten of those 51 films are based on the books by Ann Cleeves. She has created such well defined characters, allowing the other story writers to bring them to life on screen as well."

The Rising Tide - UK edition

Ann's latest mystery novel takes Vera to the beautiful tidal island of Lindisfarne. Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

The Woman on the Island, a Vera Stanhope short story

Vera is no stranger to Lindisfarne: it is an island full of memories for her. To find out why, you can download a FREE Kindle single story The Woman on the Island - which also includes a taster of the first chapters of The Rising Tide!

Or just read all about The Rising Tide here.

Meanwhile, VERA cast and crew have spent the summer in Northumberland filming series 12 - though that won't air until 2023!

Read more about all things Vera - in print and on TV - here.

Ann Cleeves invites you to Shetland

Shetland Noir logo

If you love crime fiction, and you love Ann Cleeves's Shetland mysteries, here's the perfect event for you! Tickets for Shetland Noir are now on sale, and the star-studded guest list has been announced. Ann has curated an exciting festival: guests include author, producer and television presenter Richard Osman, and Queen of Crime, Val McDermid. She says: "I'm thrilled that Shetland Noir has attracted such an amazing line-up for the festival. Of course there are the starry headliners, but the festival will showcase a host of other authors too from established bestsellers to exciting newcomers."

As well as its strong literature base with panel sessions and workshops, Shetland Noir will include elements of music, live performances, Shetland-themed events and outings, as well as other 'noir' related content. The festival takes place from 15th - 18th June, at the height of da simmer sim (summer twilight), the perfect time to explore the best of noir in the impressive backdrop of Shetland with its expansive landscapes, where the long days stretch into each other, and the sun barely sets.

Online booking for Shetland Noir.

To get into the mood for Shetland at midsummer, why not (re-)read White Nights, Ann's second Shetland novel featuring Jimmy Perez? Or read more about Shetland: the books, the TV series, and the islands!

The Heron's Cry

The Heron's Cry, UK edition

The latest mystery by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves is The Heron's Cry, a second case for detective Matthew Venn and his colleague Jen Rafferty, following their first appearance in The Long Call - as seen on TV, where they were played by Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie.

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder - Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter's broken vases.

"This character-driven exploration of people's darkest flaws is a sterling example of Cleeves' formidable talents."

Kirkus Reviews

The Heron's Cry is published in the UK by Pan MacMillan; also available as an audiobook read by Jack Holden. It is published in the US by Minotaur Books.

And if you haven't yet watched the dramatisation of The Long Call, it isn't too late! All four episodes were broadcast in the UK in October 2021, and the whole series is available on demand on the ITV Hub. In the US it is streamed on Britbox.

There's a new case for Matthew Venn in a short story, The Girls on the Shore, available now - and including an exclusive extract from the tenth Vera novel, The Rising Tide!

There's more information here, about the show, and about the books.

Ann Cleeves Classic Crime

Book Break guides you through the books of Ann Cleeves: you may know Vera Stanhope, but did you know about Ann's first series set in Vera's county of Northumberland, featuring Inspector Stephen Ramsay? Or maybe you've read all of the Shetland books, but didn't know about Ann's standalone titles. Or maybe you'd like to read some short stories next...?

The Sleeping and the Dead

Some of Ann's classic crime novels will be easier to find in the future, with a series of new editions from Pan Macmillan. Start the year with a vivid psychological suspense novel, The Sleeping and the Dead, published on 5th January 2023.

Detective Peter Porteous is called to Cranwell Lake where the body of a teenager has been discovered. After trawling through the missing persons files, he comes to the conclusion that the corpse is Michael Grey, an enigmatic and secretive young man who was reported missing by his foster parents in 1972.

The news report that a body has been found leaves prison officer Hannah Morton in shock. Michael had been her boyfriend, and she had been with him the night he disappeared. And now the discovery is bringing back dreaded and long buried memories from her past ...

Read more about Ann Cleeves's stand-alone mysteries, and other books which will be appearing later in the year.

"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid

In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction

Colin Dexter

A most satisfying mystery set in an isolated and intriguing location

Peter Robinson

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Last update: 30th January 2023.