Skip navigation

Home Page



Matthew Venn


Inspector Ramsay

Other Books

Short Stories

Signed Books

Reaching Readers



Site Map


The Darkest Evening - UK edition The Darkest Evening - US edition

DCI Vera Stanhope returns in the ninth novel in Sunday Times bestseller Ann Cleeves' enduringly popular series.

Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope's only thought is to get there quickly.

But with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way. Ploughing on, she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her. With the driver's door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.

Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.

Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera knows immediately she has a new case. Could this be the child's mother, and if it is, what happened to her?

A classic country house mystery with a contemporary twist, Ann Cleeves returns with a brilliant new Vera novel to savour.

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

"Who doesn't love 'large and shabby' Vera Stanhope, the blunt detective in Ann Cleeves's Northumberland police procedurals? She is already one of the genre immortals."

New York Times

The Darkest Evening, with a script by Colette Kane, and starring - of course! - Brenda Blethyn as DVI Vera Stanhope, was broadcast on 19th February 2023, as the 50th episode of ITV's popular crime drama. It is available to watch again on ITVx.

Ann Cleeves 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!).

In the UK

The UK edition of The Darkest Evening was published by Pan MacMillan on 3rd September 2020, and the paperback followed on 18th February 2021:

In the US

It was published in the US by St Martins Minotaur, in hardback on September 8th 2020 with the paperback following in February 2021:

The Crow Trap  |   Telling Tales  |   Hidden Depths  |   Silent Voices  |   The Glass Room  |   Harbour Street  |   The Moth Catcher  |   The Seagull  |   This page: The Darkest Evening  |   The Rising Tide  |   The Dark Wives