18 June 2011

Review: SILENT VOICES, Ann Cleeves

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 654 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (February 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004M8S40E
  • Source: I bought it - but am not sure how I did this as currently Amazon says it is not available to customers in Australia
 Product description (Amazon)
When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim’s throat – death is never that simple . . . Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth, work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands made on him by the job; Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again. Death has never made her feel so alive . . . And when they discover that the victim had worked in social services, and had been involved in a shocking case involving a young child, then it appears obvious that the two are somehow connected. Though things are never as they seem . . .

My take
 
DI Vera Stanhope is exercising for the good of her help, and hating it - my sympathies are with her. After her morning swim she goes to sit in the sauna to melt herself a bit. And then she has something happen to her that has never happened to me in the gym! After a few minutes in the sauna she realises that the only other occupant, a middle aged woman, is dead.

#4 in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series is a delightful, carefully plotted and layered story. What I liked about SILENT VOICES was the further expansion of Vera's character and personality and her relationship with other members of her team, particularly her right hand man Joe Ainsworth. Much of this is delivered from Vera's own point of view, but occasionally we see her through Joe's eyes.

Vera is a demanding boss, but she never demands more of her team than she does of herself. She is methodical, insistent that all avenues must be explored, everything must be followed up, and she and Joe in particular bounce their ideas off each other in late night sessions. In the long run though it is their intuitive flashes that solve the mysteries.

My rating: 4.8

Other Ann Cleeves' titles reviewed on this blog
RED BONES
TELLING TALES (Vera Stanhope)
WHITE NIGHTS
4.3, MURDER IN PARADISE

One of the pleasures of the recent CrimeFest 2011 in Bristol was to attend a couple of sessions which the author Ann Cleeves participated in, particularly one where she was interviewed. Visit Ann's site to hear her talk about the Vera Stanhope series.

Another pleasure while in Bristol was to see on local TV an episode of the series Vera starring award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn OBE as Vera Stanhope. I must confess she wasn't really my mental image of Vera, whom I have really drawn as a sort of female counterpart to the TV version of Andy Dalziel. Never mind. The episode was great and I am looking forward to it eventually coming to Australian television.

3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - A terrific review - thanks. I admit I haven't read this one yet; still, the Vera Stanhope series is an excellent one and I think you've captured what makes Stanhope's characters "tick." This one was already up there on my TBR, and now it's moving even further up.

Dorte H said...

This is a book I am looking forward to very much - but not until I have my TBR in control, you know ;)

che said...

I cant believe I didn't know of your blog for this long. following you now. Also, a crime fest sounds such fun.

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