As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Macmillan, 16 January 2014.
It is just before Christmas and the metro from Newcastle is crowded
with revellers and shoppers. Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth and his daughter,
Jessie, are travelling home when snow stops the train short of its final
destination. Jessie sees an old lady who appears to be asleep but when she
tried to rouse her she discovers that she is dead. Margaret Krukowski has been
stabbed and DI Vera Stanhope and her team mount an investigation.
Margaret was seventy and has
lived most of her adult life in Harbour Street, in Mardle, lodging with Kate
Dewar, once a singing star and now a struggling landlady and single-parent to
two teenage children. Harbour Street is a run-down, working class place but
Margaret was brought up in a far more affluent and respectable area, until her
rebellious marriage to a Polish seaman caused a breach with her parents. Even
at seventy, Margaret had been an elegant, refined woman and a woman of many
contradictions. Above all, she was a woman who had closely-guarded secrets. A
firm supporter of the local church, she had a special interest in a hostel for
Vera Stanhope has her own
childhood memories of Harbour Street. As a girl she had accompanied her father,
Hector, here to embark on various illegal expeditions to steal birds' eggs.
Years after his death, Hector still casts a dark shadow over Vera.
As Vera, Joe and the team try
to discover the reason for Margaret's death, they realise that the truth lies
in the secrets of this beautiful, enigmatic woman's life. But soon another
person is killed, tension mounts and the danger moves menacingly closer to
The book is well-paced and
beautifully characterised and the tension mounts alongside the shallow glitter
of the pre-Christmas festivities. Vera's relationship with her team is well
developed as she improves her people management skills, even tolerating one of
her young Detective Constable's attempts to organise a Secret Santa. Vera's
ironic internal dialogue helps to make her character likeable and emphasises
the shrewdness and intelligence concealed beneath her down-to-earth, homely
is the sixth book in the Vera Stanhope series. It is a series that grows stronger
all the time. I recommend this book.
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Ann Cleeves worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook
and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of 'Murder
Squad', working with other northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006
Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black. Her Vera Stanhope series is now a major ITV production stariing Brenda Blethyn
as Vera Stanhope. Ann lives in North
Carol Westronis a successful short story
writer and a Creative Writing teacher.She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly
Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times.The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published
July 2013. Her second book About the
Children was published in May 2014.