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Publisher's Summary

From Ann Cleeves, winner of the CWA Diamond Dagger Award, comes The Seagull.

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 key part in his downfall.

Now Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-'90s, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that 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 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, regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth....

The Seagull is a searing new audiobook by Sunday Times best-selling author Ann Cleeves about corruption deep in the heart of a community and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.

©2017 Ann Cleeves (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Janine Birkett's marvelous narration enhances this riveting mystery, part of the Vera Stanhope series, set on the majestic northeast coast of England...Listeners will appreciate Birkett's handling of the dry humor, particularly Stanhope's" — AudioFile Magazine

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

This might be the best Vera Stanhope book so far!

I loved this book! I have been a fan of Ann Cleeves’ writing for years, and always look forward to a new Vera Stanhope novel. There were many things about this book that made me especially like it, but perhaps the best part was that this involved more of Vera’s own history, with some of the main characters being people who were once known to Vera or her father in different ways.

In this story, she is called to a prison by a former superintendent, now behind bars for his own conviction, who wants to give her some information about a crime that took place many years ago in return for help with his daughter. She has her suspicions about his motives, but begins to look into it, and discovers murder that must be investigated. This book is very well balanced—with intrigue, but also a story that calls up even Vera’s empathy, as she looks into the circumstances of the daughter’s life.

Vera is a very compelling character. Cleeves has always made her seem fascinating, with the Vera who has her own personal life struggles, opposed to Vera as the strong woman who heads up a police team that solves murders. One can feel the tension between her personal sense of insecurity versus her professional instinct and judgment, and the combination is just word perfect as Cleeves draws a portrait of a very complicated, but competent woman.

I also want to say that I think Janine Birkett is a really good narrator. She has a fine range of voices (better for women than men) and I especially love the voice she uses for Vera herself. Others may disagree about this—but while I certainly recognize Vera Stanhope as created by Ann Cleeves in the tv series about her, I think you can’t really grasp the finer nuances of her personality—and certainly almost nothing about her backstory—unless you read or listen to these novels. Highly recommend!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Major mystery mistake - good character development

I love her main characters and they all seem to have grown quite a bit since the last book I listened to. But - the solution to the first two murders does not fit the facts, and the reason for the third murder seems a bit far-fetched to me, but then most of the reasons given for murders do, so that may just be me. The atmosphere of the book was a lot more colorful than usual. I'm glad I read it, but the violation of the timeline disappointed me.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Keenan
  • Anchorage Alaska
  • 10-13-17

Good puzzle, fair play.

I very much enjoyed the audio version of this book. Ms. Cleeves has a gift for dialogue that carries the story seamlessly. The narrator is able to do a fair imitation of Brenda Blethyn's Vera which instantly invokes the imagery from the television show. A very good puzzle, played fair, with a surprise ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good book, but not one of Ann Cleeve’s best.

The narrator did such an unsatisfactory job with the character voices that it was distracting and took away from the story. The voice of Joe was particularly bad.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sue
  • PALOS VERDES PENINSULA, CA, United States
  • 05-10-18

Terrible Narration

The narration of this book so totally distracts from the story line that I was unable to finish this book and I love the Vera Stanhope series. I preferred to get the written version than continue with the audio! Please bring back Ann Dover!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Vera is perfection!

I’m fascinated by Vera & her crew, where they live & work. Just fabulous & so engaging! Great!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raven
  • New Rochelle, NY, US
  • 10-15-17

Wonderful

I loved this. I'm a big fan of Vera on the TV and this narration fits right in with that. Terrific reading and great character voices, although Joe Ashworth comes across as more pompous than I picture him.
A great thing about the book is the depth and the detail, obviously the book has more time to develop the characters and the red herrings.
I love Vera, I love Audible, and I love this interpretation. One happy customer here!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

One of my top 10 series. Ann Cleeves is a wonder! Janine Burkett brought the story to life. I highly recommend. Bring on more Vera!!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ann Cleeves has done it again.

I love these Vera Stanup stories. The reader makes them come alive. This one was excellent. There were many characters from Vera's past which she always struggles with. Great descriptions of the seaside and the various homes she visits. Next one please.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Unusual and gripping story

Ann Cleeves never disappoints with the worlds she creates for our Vera. Vera is true to form in leading her team to an interesting ending. The distraction of poor narrator skills definitely diminished my enjoyment. Male characters, Joe Ashworth for example, had rather ridiculous voices. Not for the first time, I question why only one narrator must portray all characters in the novel.