Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez, books by Ann Cleeves

The Vera Stanhope novels by Ann Cleeves are currently being shown as four episodes on ITV in the UK (the photo shows the actress Brenda Blethyn (right), who plays Vera, with the author), and doubtless elsewhere in the world subsequently. As I have reviewed all four books, I thought I’d write one post to aggregate these links, for the interest of those who know Vera only as a TV character but who might want to get to know her better.

The Crow Trap (# 1)

Telling Tales (# 2) (Episode 2 of the TV series)

Hidden Depths (# 3) (Episode 1 of the TV series, reviewed at It’s a Crime!)

Silent Voices (# 4)

Ann Cleeves has written many other novels, of course, among them a series called The Shetland Quartet. These are excellent crime novels, which I highly recommend for their sense of location, atmosphere, and strong characters. Each is set on a different island and tells a distinct story, but the novels are linked by police detective Jimmy Perez, his colleagues and the woman he comes to love. I have reviewed these books for Euro Crime.

Raven Black (# 1)

White Nights (# 2)

Red Bones (# 3)

Blue Lightning (# 4)

There are rumours both of a fifth novel in this series (if so it will have to change its composite “quartet” title!), and that these books might also find their way onto the TV screen. Read more about the author, her books and lots more at Ann Cleeves’s very good website. She has also recently started Tweeting as @AnnCleeves .

11 thoughts on “Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez, books by Ann Cleeves

  1. Maxine – I’m so glad you’ve put these links together! Folks, I heartily endorse Maxine’s recommendation. Both the Perez and the Stanhope series are fine sets of stories with a compelling sense of location.

  2. Quartets are not what they used to be – and I can´t say I mind that🙂

    I have spaced out the pleasures so I have your fourth Jimmy Perez waiting for me on the shelf.

  3. I watched last week’s ‘Vera’ in the hope that it would get me into the books which I’ve failed to enjoy. However, I was even more unconvinced by Vera as a character on the television than I have been in print and I definitely won’t be going back for more. Is it worth my trying the Shetland books do you think?

  4. Thanks, Annie – I have heard people who have watched the TV series say that it is not as good as the books. I think the Shetland Quartet is good – they are more like classic police procedurals (details lacking in the Vera books) together with a filter through Fran’s perspective (a character who is involved in the investigation in the first book, and then sticks around for the next 3), as well as accounts of island life on 4 of the Shetland isles. I’d say there are similarities in the structure of the books (they are also quite similar to Susan Hill’s crime fiction) but sufficiently different for you to give Raven Black a try, should you be so inclined.

  5. PS I should perhaps note that I haven’t seen the TV series as I had assumed it would be “emptier” than the books.

  6. Maxine, a very timely post, thanks. I have a competition to win the set of Vera novels, which I have just posted up. I’ve linked to this post for access to your full set of reviews! Cheers.

  7. After racing through a breezy, easy, funny Nero Wolfe book, I turned to Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter. It is very well written! It is what I’d call a literary mystery, a novel of the U.S. South, but with much human understanding, and keen observations about the local economy and the inhabitants. He’s been nominated for several awards; he deserves it. I cannot tear myself away.

  8. Thanks, Kathy, I’ve read a lot of good reviews of CLCL (starting with Sarah Weinman) so I must try it.

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