From Ann Cleeves—New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—comes The Crow Trap, the first in the Vera Stanhope series.
“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny
Three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey on the Northumberland countryside. 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 to hide...
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.
Fans of the Vera Stanhope novels already available in the U.S., as well as the TV series Vera, will welcome Cleeves's intricate series opener (first published in 1998), which introduced the Northumberland detective inspector. Three very different women team leader Rachael Lambert, botanist Anne Preece, and mammal expert Grace Fulwell are conducting an environmental impact assessment to estimate the damage that a new quarry would do to a national park's pristine land and wildlife. When a suicide and a murder rock the project, Vera must sift through the murk to catch a ruthless killer. Though it offers a fine mystery, the story nevertheless belongs to its women. Cleeves thoroughly explores the passions and motivations of each, while exposing the human greed and sorrow beneath the bucolic landscape. The Columbo-esque Vera, who hides a fierce intelligence and razor sharp instincts under garish clothing, uses every tool at her disposal to solve the crime.