The Moth Catcher

A Vera Stanhope Mystery
Narrated by: Janine Birkett
Series: Vera Stanhope, Book 7
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (718 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Much More Than A "Procedural"

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.



11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Kept me guessing up to the end.

Would you listen to The Moth Catcher again? Why?

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.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

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.

Have you listened to any of Janine Birkett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

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.

Any additional comments?

Vera Stanhope may be an acquired taste, or listen. I enjoy the series.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite detectives!

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.

7 people found this helpful

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A solid *10* but Audible only permits a *5*--Alas!

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!

13 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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My favorite in the series so far

I enjoy Ann Cleeves writing whether it is the Vera Stanhoe or Shetland series. This is probably my favorite book so far. Highly recommended!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • VE
  • 12-19-18

Too Many Red Herrings!

The redoubtable Vera is back as fiesty as ever and the set up for the mystery involving two victims obsessed with rare moths is engaging. Couples parents and children are all part of the plot and Cleeves really knows how to deploy dysfunctional families in creating tension and suspense. Unfortunately the ending arrives out of the blue and there are too few genuine clues along the way to make the reader feel part of Vera’s sudden solution.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Three Murders Connected?

The first two victims found in separate places seem to have nothing in common, but were murdered nearly at the same time and near one another. Vera can't find a connection. Then a third victim. What is going on? The first two enjoyed studying moths, the third, no. There has to be a thread trying them together, but it takes all the crime team's research and interviewing skills to find it, hidden away in the past. Another good Vera story, but not my favorite Vera reader.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

First Time Vera Stanhope Listenet

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Just not a lot going on.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Blah, Blah, Blah

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

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.

Has The Moth Catcher turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, butt Ill not be reading anymore books by this author or narrator.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

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.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No really. It was a big disappointment.

1 person found this helpful