VERA STANHOPE

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The VERA books in order:

The Crow Trap

More about The Crow Trap

Telling Tales

More about Telling Tales

Hidden Depths

More about Hidden Depths

Silent Voices

More about Silent Voices

The Glass Room

More about The Glass Room

Harbour Street

More about Harbour Street

The Moth Catcher

More about The Moth Catcher

The Seagull

More about The Seagull

The Darkest Evening

More about The Darkest Evening

Vera's darkest evening

The Darkest Evening

The latest book from best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves is another case for the brilliant, if unglamorous detective, DI Vera Stanhope. The Darkest Evening, published in September 2020, 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. You can hear Ann talking to Jane Garvie on Woman's Hour about The Darkest Evening (and how she spent lockdown).

Ann is celebrating the publication of this ninth Vera Stanhope novel with a series of virtual events, starting with a virtual launch party on the heart of Vera country, in the small Northumberland town of Corbridge. It's hosted by Forum Books, who have supported Ann since they set up shop many years ago, and who have already provided the setting for an exclusive Vera short story, Frozen. 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.

She has even written a murder mystery script based on The Darkest Evening, which has been filmed, with four actors reading the parts, turning St Aidan's church Thorneyburn into a grand house. You can watch the suspects read their statements and try and work out whodunnit. Then - when everyone's submitted their answers - play the confession. You may recognise some characters and the situation from the book - but don't worry, it's a different story, and there are no spoilers for the book (or the other way round!).

star"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."

Publishers' Weekly

Read more about The Darkest Evening.

"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid

"If you like the TV series, you're in for a treat - because the atmospheric but realistic books are even better."

Leicester Mercury

"... 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



The Starlings and Other Stories

A Taste of Vera

'Frozen' and 'THe Darkest Evening'

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.


VERA's case files

Cast photo, Vera series 10

VERA is also a hugely successful crime drama, in which Vera Stanhope is brought to life by the wonderful Brenda Blethyn: nine previous series are now available to fans in both the UK and the US, and series 10 is now available on DVD in the UK (released on March 2nd 2020). 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 there are some episodes available to watch on the ITV Hub or you can sign up there for BritBox, and watch the whole story, from the beginning.

Series 10, the DVD

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's Facebook pageYou can also keep up with the show through its page on Facebook!