"Ann Cleeves really knows how to write a good story!"
Reviewed by Magdalena Johansson
Posted March 15, 2017
Mystery Police Procedural
As a long time fan of Ann Cleeves Shetland series
does it feel a bit odd to admit that it has taken me this
long time to read a book from her Vera Stanhope
series. Especially since I have seen the TV series and
like it very much. But, I'm a bit grateful for waiting
for this gave me the opportunity to read the first book
in the series.
I found THE CROW TRAP to be a bit different from the
usual crime novels. Of course, I'm used to books with
several different points of views, but this book starts
off and keeps going for almost half the book before
Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is properly introduced
into the story and she will take the center stage first
at the end of the book with her own point of view.
The book starts with Rachael arriving at her friend Bella
Furness cottage only to discover Bella's body. It seems
that she has committed suicide and even though Rachael
has a hard time accepting this is nothing pointing to
foul play. Rachael has a hard time accepting that Bella
must have been so depressed that she couldn't go on and
she will ponder over this will she together with two
other women take up residence in a cottage nearby to
conduct an environmental survey of the area. But, then
another woman is found dead, and this time it's without a
doubt murder. Could the murder have any link to Bella's
THE CROW TRAP is a thick book and much of the first half
of the book is given to tell the reader more about the
three women living in the cottage, Rachel. Anne and Grace
have been brought together to do an environmental survey,
but could it be that they also have some dark secrets?
That's up to Vera to find out. That so much time is given
to each character is both an advantage and a
disadvantage. It did feel good that the story didn't feel
rushed that Ann Cleeves slowly build up the story, and
let each character tell her story. But, it also means
that there is plenty of time when it feels like nothing
really happens. Personally, I prefer the second half of
the story when Vera finally enter the story, and the best
of that is when she herself takes over the story instead
of the women doing the environmental survey. Vera is such
an interesting character, odd, but with a sharp mind and
I loved the ending, not only because we get the answers
to the murder, but because Vera is the character that is
the most interesting to follow and now is she starting to
put everything together.
THE CROW TRAP strength lies in that Ann Cleeves really
knows how to write a good story and create great
characters. Just like Jimmy Perez in her Shetland books
is Vera Stanhope a multilayered and very likable
character. Yes, sometimes did I want the story to be a
bit more thrilling and get to the point. But, all and all
was this book good!
Three very different women come together to complete an
environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or
another, know the meaning of betrayal....For team leader
Rachael Lambert the project is the perfect opportunity to
rebuild her confidence after a double-betrayal by her lover
and boss, Peter Kemp. Botanist Anne Preece, on the other
hand, sees it as a chance to indulge in a little deception
of her own. And then there is Grace Fulwell, a strange,
uncommunicative young woman with plenty of her own secrets
When Rachael arrives at the cottage, however, she is
horrified to discover the body of her friend Bella Furness.
Bella, it appears, has committed suicide--a verdict Rachael
finds impossible to accept.
Only when the next death occurs does a fourth woman enter
the picture--the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera
Stanhope, who must piece together the truth from these
women's tangled lives in The Crow Trap.
Ann Cleeves's popular Vera Stanhope books have been made
into the hit series “Vera” starring Brenda Blethyn and are
available in the U.S. through Netflix and PBS.
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