A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace 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.
This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as 'the Prof', were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were 'the Gang of Four', and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present ...
The Seagull is a searing novel about corruption deep in the heart of a community, and about fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.
"This nuanced, adroitly paced tale should satisfy both series fans and new readers."
"Readers will enjoy Vera's relentless quest for the truth in this astutely observed, atmospheric crime novel."
"I loved The Seagull - quite simply it reminds me why Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers! I relish learning more about Vera with each book, and The Seagull provides fresh insight into one of our most complex and lovable sleuths."
"Darker and more intricate than ever,"
Woman & Home
"Never in fashion, overweight, cranky, alone and not giving a toss about what anyone thinks of her, Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope is one of the best coppers around,"
"Grab a few cushions and get comfy, because this is a tale that will pull you in close and keep you there. Ann Cleeves has a canny knack of creating such vivid scenes that they play out, like mini movie screenings, on the backs of the eyelids....
"I adore Vera, who is something of a cross between Miss Marple and Columbo, but unlike that pair we know her inside out. And we know, at the end of it all, she'll get her man (or woman). Some crime heroes love to sail close to the wind, while Vera may appear to be happier paddling about in the shallows in a tattered rubber dinghy. But don't be fooled, because beneath that tatty anorak beats the heart of a lioness and under her rain hat there's a brain equal to that of Poirot or Rebus. More please!"
The Seagull was dramatised as the fourth episode of ITV's ninth series of VERA, starring Brenda Blethyn, and now available on DVD. The novel was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2018, and the audiobook, read by Janine Birkett, won an AudioFile Earphones Award.
"Janine Birkett's marvelous narration enhances this riveting mystery... Listeners will appreciate Birkett's handling of the dry humor, particularly Stanhope's. Birkett's portrayal of the strong personality of elderly Mrs. Marshall intensifies the story's conclusion."
Visit the locations of The Seagull with the BookTrail
Going 'down Whitley': Ann Cleeves talks about writing The Seagull.
In the US
The Seagull was published on 5th September 2017 by Minotaur Books):
In the UK
The Seagull was published on 7th September 2017 by Pan MacMillan;