The Glass Room is the fifth book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - which is now a major TV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn as Vera.
DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation so she has more tolerance for them than most. When one of them goes missing she feels duty-bound to find out what happened. But her path leads her to more than a missing friend...
It's an easy job to track the young woman down to the Writer's House, a country retreat where aspiring authors gather to workshop and work through their novels. It gets complicated when a body is discovered and Vera's neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.
Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over to someone else. She's too close to the main suspect. But the investigation is too tempting and she's never been one to follow the rules.
The fatal stabbing of mercurial book critic Tony Ferdinand at the Writers' House on the Northumbrian coast, where a group of crime writers has gathered, propels Cleeves's fascinating fifth mystery featuring Det. Insp. Vera Stanhope (after Silent Voices). One suspect is Vera's neighbor Joanna Tobin, who's found at the Writers' House with a knife in her hand, but it's not the murder weapon. The crime writers didn't much like the victim, and a few seem to harbor secrets, such as Nina Backworth, who proves to be a distraction to Vera's married sergeant, and retreat owner Miranda Barton, who had a history with Ferdinand. Frequently underestimated because of her offhand manner and slovenly appearance, Vera slyly delves deep into the gossip running rampant among the writers, hoping to flush out a killer. Cleeves crafts a subtle, complex mystery, and the curmudgeonly Vera and her distinctive view of the world make this series stand out in a crowded genre.