The Long Call
The latest book from award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves is a fresh departure: it's the first mystery in her new Two Rivers series, featuring a new detective - and it is proving very popular with readers, critics, and awards committees. The Long Call is set in North Devon, where Ann grew up, and introduces the reserved and complex Detective Inspector Matthew Venn, estranged from the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, and from his own family, but drawn back by murder into the community he thought he had left behind.
On the eve of publication, there was more good news for Ann (and her many fans): even before The Long Call reached the shops, Silverprint Pictures announced that it has optioned the screen rights. The Long Call makes Ann's third collaboration with Silverprint Pictures, the partnership that has produced Shetland (BBC) and Vera (ITV), two of television's most popular dramas. Ann says "I'm delighted that the team at Silverprint has optioned The Long Call. The adaptations of Vera and Shetland have captured the essence of my books, while making TV dramas that are hugely successful in their own right."
The Long Call is now also available in paperback in both the US and the UK: it won the Agatha Award in the Best Contemporary Novel category. Malice Domestic, the US crime convention at which Ann Cleeves is a frequent guest, was one of the events cancelled as a result of the pandemic; the Agatha Awards, which are normally voted on by those attending the convention, were conducted electronically! Ann says "Of course I'm delighted and I'd like to thank the whole Malice community."
"I ... was riveted."
"Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers."
Vera's Darkest Evening
The next book from multi-award winning crime writer Ann Cleeves will be another case for the brilliant, if unglamorous detective, DI Vera Stanhope. The Darkest Evening will be published in September 2020, and finds Vera in the wild Northumberland winter, driving home through the countryside during a swirling blizzard. Her only thought is to get there quickly, but with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way...
An abandoned car, a child, a stately home - and of course, a murder. Vera must revisit her own family history to solve the case. Read more about The Darkest Evening.
"This fair-play mystery brims with fully developed suspects and motives that are hidden in plain sight. Skillful misdirection masks the killer's identity. This page-turner is must reading for fans as well as newcomers."
There's a very special chance to learn more about Vera's Northumberland, and to support the people who live and work there, in collaboration with Forum Books in the small Northumberland town of Corbridge, who have supported Ann since they set up shop many years ago. A couple of years ago, they changed premises and moved into an empty chapel in the heart of the town. When the builders were renovating the building, they discovered an enormous baptismal font just below the pulpit; the pulpit is still there and used as a stage for events. This was the germ of an idea for a Vera short story, Frozen.
To celebrate Independent Bookseller Week, and to support Helen at Forum Books, Pan Macmillan printed 500 copies of the short story. This is a very special item and exclusive to the shop in the UK. To get a free copy, readers just have to pre-order the new Vera novel, The Darkest Evening, which is set in winter too, and in the same part of Northumberland as Forum Books. You can order any of Ann's books from her dedicated page on the Forum Books website - and Forum Books is the place for signed copies of Ann Cleeves's books, too.
If you haven't already met the original Vera, eight books are already available, so what are you waiting for?
Read all about Vera - in print and on TV - here.
In addition, The BBC has already announced two more series of the hit crime drama Shetland inspired by - but very different to - the Shetland mysteries by best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves. Douglas Henshall reprises his role as DI Jimmy Perez alongside series regulars Alison O'Donnell and Steven Robertson. The series is made by Silverprint Pictures for BBC One. "Well, this is very lovely news," says Ann.
Shetland takes as its point of departure the characters and settings of Ann's award-winning novels, but over five series has developed its own stories. Series six and seven will film in 2020 and 2021 in locations in the Shetland Isles and around Scotland, and will again feature six hour-long episodes each. Both series will be written and created by David Kane, who scripted the first series of Shetland and has written on every series since.
Meanwhile, Ann has completed her second Shetland Quartet, the Four Elements following the original Four Seasons, with Wild Fire: an English family, drawn in by the beauty of the islands, move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny's body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. DI Jimmy Perez, called in to investigate, knows that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves...
Ann Cleeves: "the worthiest of winners"
On 26 October 2017, Ann Cleeves was presented with the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers' Association, the highest honour in British crime writing, at the CWA's Dagger Awards ceremony in London.
Presenting Ann with her award, Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, said: "It's a lifetime achievement award, and above all it recognises excellence in writing. But it also recognises a significant contribution to the crime writing world. And nobody can deny that Ann Cleeves' contribution has been magnificent."
He went on to say that "You all know about the wonderful books, and you all know about the fantastically successful TV series. So, given that the recurring theme of this evening is friendship, I just want to say a few words about Ann the person," and praised Ann for her kindness and generosity to others, and as a passionate advocate of the library service.
In 2006 Ann was the first winner of the Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of the year, for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland series. In addition, she has been short listed for CWA Dagger Awards, once for the short story dagger, and twice for the Dagger in the Library award which is awarded not for an individual book but for an author's entire body of work.
Ann says: "It's a huge honour to be recognized by my peers, the crime-writers whose books, friendship and support I've enjoyed for more than thirty years. I am privileged to have had such a happy career and I will always be grateful for the support of booksellers and forever indebted to the passion and expertise of librarians, without whom I wouldn't still be writing today."
Ann Cleeves says "Good short stories have a force and a clarity which it's almost impossible to achieve in a novel. That's why I enjoy reading them. I know that each word has been chosen with care.
"I don't send post cards when I travel; I write stories instead. The three pieces in the CWA anthologies bring back vivid memories of Tanzania, Finland and Alaska. Raven Black was originally conceived as another of those holiday snap stories."
In The Starlings and Other Stories, Ann has edited a collection of twelve short stories which are literally, if not snapshots, at least inspired by photographs. She has invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad to bring in an accomplice, and write a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson. Ann's own contribution is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope.
Read more about The Starlings and other short stories by Ann Cleeves.
Two standalone novels are back in the bookshops in new paperback editions: The Sleeping and the Dead is a vivid psychological suspense novel the discovery of a body in the lake forces prison officer Hannah Morton to confront her past self; in Burial of Ghosts a holiday romance changes Lizzie's life forever.
Pan MacMillan's Bello imprint hunts down lost classics, and uses modern digital technology to make them available to readers as eBooks or print-on-demand paperbacks: now they are reissuing a selection of these as Pan Heritage Classic paperbacks. A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy is one of Ann Cleeves' 'Inspector Ramsay' series, featuring a police officer who is like Ann's (and TV's) Vera Stanhope in being based in England's northernmost county, Northumberland - though unlike her in many other ways. Looking even further back, to the work of a very young writer, you can also now read the George & Molly books, the adventures of amateur sleuth George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher - and his wife, Molly. (Or you might want to read what Ann would like to say to that younger self).
"I do love Vera!"
In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction
A most satisfying mystery set in an isolated and intriguing location