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Telling Tales (Vera Stanhope Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Telling Tales is the second book in Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series – which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn as Vera .
They thought she was a murderer. But now she’s a victim . . .
Ten years ago fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel was murdered, her cold body discovered lying in a ditch. Her father’s girlfriend was found guilty of the crime. Now, evidence has emerged that proves her innocence and means that Abigail’s killer still roams free.
Abigail’s best friend at the time of the murder has now returned to the East Yorkshire village of Elvet to raise her young family. Shocked by the new revelations, she begins to realize that she didn’t know her friend as well as she thought . . .
Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is tasked with uncovering the truth and, as her new inquiries stoke up past secrets the villagers will lie to protect, she must find out which lies will bring her to the killer.
Enjoy more of Vera Stanhope's investigations with The Crow Trap, Hidden Depths and Silent Voices.
About the Author
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. Her books have now sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Ann 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 British northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland series. In 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame. Ann lives in North Tyneside.
www.anncleeves.com--This text refers to the paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
After years of deadly silence, a killer re-emerges . . .
Ten years after Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel, residents of the East Yorkshire village of Elvet are disturbed to hear of new evidence proving Jeanie's innocence. Abigail's killer is still at large.
For Emma Bennett, the revelation brings back haunting memories of her vibrant best friend - and of the fearful winter's day when she discovered her body lying cold in a ditch.
As DI Vera Stanhope makes fresh inquiries, villagers are taken back to a time they would rather forget. Inevitably tensions begin to mount, but are people afraid of the killer, or of their own guilty pasts?
Praise for the Vera Stanhope series
'If you're a fan of ITV's crime drama Vera, you'll love the books that inspired the series' Sunday Express
'A nicely atmospheric read' Time Out
- ASIN : B004M18NA2
- Publisher : Pan; New Edition (1 Feb. 2011)
- Language : English
- File size : 638 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 422 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 4,979 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
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This is the fourth book I’ve read by Ann Cleeves and the second in her ‘Vera’ series. The story unfolds gradually, allowing us to see a picture of the community and its characters. Along with Emma, the young mother whose discovery of the body all those years ago still traumatises her, we have her seafaring husband and his mysterious past, an ex-cop-turned blacksmith who took part in the original investigation and a troubled parole officer who couldn’t bear to visit his daughter in jail. Along with many others in the village, all have their own secrets and Ms Cleeves weaves them together expertly, taking us through the various suspects and their possible motives.
As always, the scenery is just as much a character as the people and the author’s use of language makes reading her work a sheer delight.
NB After reading this one I watched the ITV version of the drama. While Brenda Blethyn (as Inspector Stanhope) is always a treat to watch, the story is very different to the book and even manages to end up with an extra killer!
Ann Cleeves weaves a skilful plot around the murder of a teenage girl and the subsequent suicide of the person charged with her murder. I was immediately drawn in; the story pulls the reader in a number of different directions. Clearly there are people deeply affected by tragic events, but who's got what to hide and why? A diverse collection of characters gave real depth to the plot and kept me guessing right the way through. There's a strong sense of location with sufficient description to place events in a real time and place setting, thereby adding to the sense of this. Being a true life investigation. It's a really well crafted story with sufficient pace to keep the reader engaged from start to finish. I particularly enjoyed the psychological probing. Flawed characters just on the 'normal' boundary make fascinating subjects. I found Vera intelligent, likeable and often amusing. She's colourful without being intrusive and her conflicts, both personal and professional made her very believable.
The pace of the thriller really picks up in the latter third of the book as the strands come together and a real sense of urgency builds in the closing pages. Loved it! Have another couple featuring Vera and looking forward to those. Reading this as a standalone worked well. Happy to recommend.
Ten-years-ago when Emma Winter moved to the village of Elvet, East Yorkshire and her early days were filled by her sole friendship, with the vibrant and ethereal beauty of best friend, fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel. Both misfits in their own way, Emma longed for escape to the Old Chalet and Abigail’s glamorous lifestyle with her widowed and charismatic father, Keith. Within six-months of moving to Elvet, Emma’s life was blighted by the discovery of her friends body, strangled to death. The much younger girlfriend of Keith, Jeanie Long, was sentenced to life imprisonment, unable to offer a corroborated alibi and given her fractious relationship with Abigail and Keith asking her to move out of the home she had spent three-months living at. However, ten years later and turned down for parole, Jeanie Long’s suicide prior to a new witness coming forward sees DI Vera Stanhope casting fresh eyes over an investigation that the neighbouring force of Yorkshire originally presided over. It doesn’t take Vera too long to unsettle villagers and enthuse Elvet with her mischievous energy and get to grips with the very ferocity of human emotions and the lengths that it can drive people to.
After the murder, best friend Emma went away to university, only to return and live her life as a married mother in the shadow of her overbearing and devout father, parole officer, Robert, and obliging mother, Mary and a marriage to an older man that lacks spark and has left her curiously disengaged with her surroundings. Emma goes through the motions, smiles at the right places and plays the happy wife, but her dreams about the brooding and intense pottery maker who lives opposite, Dan Greenwood, are given more colour when she realises that he was a young sergeant and sidekick to the original investigator, Detective Inspector Caroline Fletcher. Now a civilian, Dan’s past is shrouded in mystery, but the arrival of Emma’s self-contained and studious brother, Christopher, who tells of his long held devoted love of Abigail makes Emma realise that perhaps she wasn’t quite so close to her friend as she believed at the time. As Vera mobilises Jeanie’s father, a man who thought his own daughter guilty, and treats him with humanity and respect, she scours and scrutinises the Elvet grapevine for both scurrilous rumour and truth. If it has substance, Vera eeks it out, from attitudes to Keith Mantel, regarded as lacking scruples in business and known for a string of glamorous young girlfriends, to his importance as a local fundraiser. And what of Emma’s husband, the genial pilot James Bennett and why is Keith Mantel so keen to send Vera chasing after him?
Vera is genuine and astute, lacking in airs and graces and is often intrusive and tactless, but she also represents a brand of detective that the reader can identify with. The more readers learn of Vera is seems that behind her indomitable front, she too, has her own disappointments and grasp on human emotions. DI Stanhope may be confident and very proud but crucially she also recognises her own fallibility, and berates herself for missing the obvious (although it is never quite so obvious to her readers as to Vera). Despite looking on DS Joe Ashworth as an honorary son, she is not blind to his sentimentality and how easily he is fed a sob story.
Telling Tales is a magnificent novel, marked out by some clever characterisation and the added hindrance that Vera Stanhope and her sergeant, Joe Ashworth, are operating in the neighbouring district of Yorkshire and hence not welcomed with open arms by their colleagues. Given that the second murder is investigated under the authority of the the Yorkshire force and Vera has a tendency to rub people up the wrong way, DS Joe Ashworth comes in handy as a foil to extract information in their tremendous double act. Critically, the denouement and motive behind both incidents was wholly believable and whereas sometimes in the past I have found the rationale behind the crimes that Ann Cleeves creates a little hard to swallow, I was impressed with the wrap up. Simply wonderful.
Review written by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
I liked the characters. It was an interesting approach that Vera was a very peripheral figure early on in the story. Despite my reservation below, I enjoyed the story, which is set in a small community. Plenty of red herrings to lead the reader astray.
The story revolves around a wrongful conviction for a murder that happened 10 years before this story. We are not told what the basis for the conviction was other than the convicted person not being able to prove she was in London on the day of the murder and that she and the murder victim disliked each other. That is surely not sufficient basis for a murder conviction. There doesn't seem to have been any forensic evidence.