Hidden Depths is the third book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - which is now a major TV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn as Vera.
A hot summer on the Northumberland coast, and Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke has been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers. This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But then a second body - that of beautiful young teacher Lily Marsh - is discovered laid out in a rock pool, the water strewn with flowers.
Now Vera must work quickly to find this dramatist, this killer who is making art out of death.
Clues are slow to emerge from those who had known Luke and Lily, but Vera soon finds herself drawn towards the curious group of friends who discovered Lily's body. What unites these four men and one woman? Are they really the close-knit, trustworthy unit they claim to be?
As local residents are forced to share their private lives and those of their loved ones, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed. And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave . . .
In Cleeves's captivating third mystery featuring Det. Chief Insp. Vera Stanhope of the Northumberland police (after Telling Tales), Vera and the members of her team look into the murder of teenager Luke Armstrong, who was found strangled in his bathtub. The way Luke's body was laid out, anointed with perfumed oils and surrounded by wild flowers, suggests a certain respect for the victim. A college student is later discovered on a beach, once again with flowers scattered around the corpse. The two murders appear to be related, but Vera and crew will have to do a lot of digging to determine the exact connection between them. All the players the suspects, police officers, and surviving relatives of the victims are fully realized individuals. Vera, a reflective middle-aged woman who doesn't suffer fools gladly, is particularly vivid. She drinks her beer straight from the bottle and seldom says no to a drop of whisky. Readers will want to devour the entire series just for the pleasure of spending time in Vera's complex and inviting world.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Constant references to Vera’s size getting tiresome
I’ve loved reading all of Ann Cleeves’ books - I love her characters. However, I’m finding the constant references to Vera as “the fat detective “ and “the fat woman” rather tiresome. Five times in one chapter? Really? What’s the point of this?
Ann Cleeves writes clever and compelling detective fiction. Her characters are thoughtfully drawn with flaws and strengths adding to their charm. Plots are intriguing and very well paced. I have loved every Ann Cleeves book I've read and can't wait to devour the next one.