Ann Cleeves is an award winning best selling British author of two mystery series -- the Shetland series and the Vera Stanhope series -- and has also started a third series, the Two River series. Her newest book is "The Darkest Evening," number 9 in the Vera Stanhope series.
This newest book -- and all her books -- are quick reads. I'm a slow reader and finished in two days. The short chapters and fast paced plot as well as her excellent ability not to give away too much keep readers turning the pages. Cleeves is a fine police procedural writer. Her biggest strength is her quirky main character, Vera, in this case -- a frumpy, older, deceptively clever and deceptively empathetic career homicide cop. Minor characters -- both suspects and members of her police team -- are also finely drawn. The BBC adaptations of both Vera and the Shetland books are excellent and can be found streaming in different places at different times -- the latest being Amazon Prime.
A favorite quote from "The Darkest Evening" is from a young woman police detective who often finds Vera hard to please. Yet, when she later realizes why Vera sent her particularly to interview a subject, she thinks to herself, "Vera might be a cow, but she is a wise cow." That captures the sense of conflicting moments of what working for Vera must be like.
Who will love these books? Those who appreciate a good who-done-it in general and British ones in particular.
One of her biggest fans? Louise Penny.
-- Roz Weedman