Life seems perfect in the quiet community of Valley Farm. Then a shocking discovery shatters the silence. The owners of a big country house have employed a house sitter, a young ecologist, to look after the place while they're away. But his dead body is found by the side of the lane - a lonely place to die.
When DI Vera Stanhope arrives on the scene, she finds the body of a second man. What the two victims seem to have in common is a fascination with studying moths - and with catching these beautiful, intriguing creatures.
The others who live in Valley Farm have secrets, too: Lorraine's calm demeanor belies a more complex personality; Annie and Sam's daughter, Lizzie, is due to be released from prison; and Nigel watches silently, every day, from his window. As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realizes that there may be many deadly secrets trapped there.
©2015 Ann Cleeves (P)2016 Macmillan Audio
I am so grateful that I found this author and this series. I have read all the books available on Audible and have not been disappointed in any of them.
Vera Stanhope is a fascinating character. She's rough around the edges and flawed in some ways. But she is uniquely talented as a detective. She isn't always likable, but I always find her interesting.
The author creates a unique setting and develops the cast of characters (who are also suspects). This attention to detail is what keeps me interested and makes this book stand apart from others of its type.
If you prefer "action packed" fast moving stories, this may not be a good choice for you. The story moves slowly, but steadily and I never was bored or impatient with the pace. I wasn't able to guess who the killer was before it was revealed in the book.
Janine Birkett's narration was excellent. I was never confused about who was speaking or what was happening. Her voice was clear, and her tone pleasing to my ear. The is what makes a narrator perfect for me.
If you have enjoyed earlier books this is series I believe you will enjoy this one. If you haven't tried any of Ann Cleeves' other books, do try them. She is an excellent writer.
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Yes, the twists and turns in the plot were very good. When I hunt through my library at a later date for a title to listen to again, I am sure I won't be able to recall the whole plot. So it will be worth another listen.
Vera Stanhope isn't Jack Reacher, so on the edge of your seat doesn't typically describe the plot for one of Ann Cleeves/ Vera Stanhope books. But I was concerned about one of the main characters for a while.
I listened to Charlie Hardwick's narration before Janine Birkett. Personally I liked Charlie Hardwick's narration better. I had difficulty at times distinguishing between characters during Janine Birkett's narration.
Vera Stanhope may be an acquired taste, or listen. I enjoy the series.
Vera Stanhope is a fascinating character, who is full of surprises. The story is well-wrought, the auxiliary characters are satisfying, and the narration is excellent. I love the accent of Northumbria- wonderful listening.
Love books! Classics and lighter fiction, mysteries (not too violent please :-). And selective non-fiction--whatever takes my fancy.
I love Ann Cleeves' books. They are always good, but this one is exceptional. I think she has outdone her usual great skill at depicting Vera Stanhope, a brilliant woman detective, but one who constantly deals with her own self anxiety, fueled by her size and self image.
In this book, Vera takes on a complex murder case, where she and her team have to tediously work to piece together the clues to murders that initially don't seem to have much in common. But gradually they start to make sense, and as a listener I loved feeling led from one guess about the killer to another. Cleeves has great skill in weaving the story through several threads without ever losing the pace.
I would just also like to say that the narrator is superb. I loved listening to her many different voices and accents--I felt it was worth the credit just to listen to her brilliant reading. Highly recommend!
This is the second book I have listened to from this author and I have to say that this one is just not very interesting. For most of the book there is nothing really going on other than an endless number of interviews with suspects which went no where. Even with only an hour left I was just not engaged. Sorry, but there are many better books out there. It is not terrible but just really bland.
I am a retired school counselor (middle and elementary) and an avid reader. I am a lover of great mysteries, quirky protagonists, and medical/scientific non-fiction. I travel a lot and love the freedon audiobooks give me to drive, work, and relax while enjoying a good book. On my ipod I have eclectic musical selections as well as audiobooks. I will strive to never steer you wrong in a review.
The plot would have to be much, much better and the narrator would have to be replaced. This book attracted me because of the cover and description. Both were misleading. The plot was so slim that the author padded the book with a lot of superfluous dialogue that did not help.
No, butt Ill not be reading anymore books by this author or narrator.
She tried very hard I think but either her voice was unclear or the engineering was bad. She made a stab at all of the different voices and accents but it was not effective.
No really. It was a big disappointment.
Anne Cleeves is a master story teller. In traditional British style, she manages to locate her story in a place that seems like a fairy tale, peopled with characters we might not first choose as friends, but whom we ultimately find indispensable in our own lives.
Her pacing and story line make logical sense and have a reasonably believable theme.
I watch Vera on television and really enjoy the program. In the book however, the characters are better developed. While I don't always understand their accents on TV, the narrator Janine Birkett's characters were clearly understood. I look forward to buying another Vera Stanhope mystery book.
Best thing about this was the narration. Really couldn't get into this book. Very slow and a lot of nothing going on.
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