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Wednesday 26 February 2020

‘The Long Call’ by Ann Cleeves

Published by Pam Macmillan,
20 February 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-50988960-0 (PB)

Just outside Barnstaple in north Devon, Detective Inspector Matthew Venn watches his father's funeral from a distance and only approaches the Chapel of Rest when they have all gone in. He is not welcome by his family or the Barum Brethren, he had been cast out for declaring himself an unbeliever.
He is just going back to his car when Constable Ross May rings to tell him a body with stab wounds has been found on the beach at Crow Point. The dead man is identified as a Simon Walden supposedly a down and out and taken in by a Caroline Preece who owns a property in Ilfracombe. Simon served three months in prison for causing the death of a young girl in a car accident. He never quite got over the guilt.

Matthew Venn is married to Jonathan who helps run The Woodyard Centre a place where anyone can go and socialise. There is also a special unit for people with learning difficulties.

Caroline's father Christopher put a great deal of money into the Centre and is chair of Trustees. Simon arrived there suffering from depression, attended group therapy sessions and improved enough to work in the café kitchen there.

Matthew and his team are puzzled as to why Simon travelled every afternoon on the bus to Lovacott village. The landlady of the pub there where he went every day said he had only two cokes and left. It seemed he was waiting for someone, but they never turned up. Who was it?

Word then comes in that a Downs' Syndrome woman who attended the Woodyard has gone missing, can her disappearance have anything to do with Simon's death? They both had connections to the Centre. Thankfully she is found, confused but unharmed. Then another woman sufferer, also connected to The Woodyard is snatched. What is going on?
Meanwhile it appears that Simon was not as destitute as he would have everyone believe, why the big secret?

Something at the Centre is certainly being hushed up and Matthew's boss is concerned Jonathan may be caught up in it. There is even a possibility that Matthew may be taken off the case as it’s a bit too close to home. Can he solve the murder before such a thing happens?

I am a great fan of the series Vera on television and was thrilled to learn Ann Cleeves had started writing about a new detective, I was not disappointed, it’s a brilliant story and shows a great insight of human nature.

A thoroughly enjoyable book full of interesting characters and plenty of twists and turns, all in a beautiful setting. I highly recommend it.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

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. Ann Cleeves is the author behind ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. She has written over twenty-five novels and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez – characters loved both on screen and in print. Both series are international bestsellers.  Ann lives in North Tyneside.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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