AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
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 stunning new Vera Stanhope novel, The Darkest Evening.
"Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers."—Louise Penny
"As a huge fan of both the Shetland and Vera series of books, I had high expectations for Cleeves’ latest. . . . A stunning debut for Cleeves’ latest crimefighter."—David Baldacci on The Long Call
On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find help. But a cry calls her back: a toddler is strapped in the back seat.
Vera takes the child and, driving on, she arrives at a place she knows well. Brockburn is a large, grand house in the wilds of Northumberland, now a little shabby and run down. It’s also where her father, Hector, grew up. Inside, there’s a party in full swing: music, Christmas lights and laughter. Outside, unbeknownst to the revelers, a woman lies dead in the snow.
As the blizzard traps the group deep in the freezing Northumberland countryside, Brockburn begins to give up its secrets, and as Vera digs deeper into her investigation, she also begins to uncover her family’s complicated past.
CWA Diamond Dagger Award winner Cleeves's superb ninth novel featuring astute, irascible Det. Insp. Vera Stanhope (after 2017's The Seagull) finds Vera driving home late one night through rural Northumberland in a blizzard when she comes upon a car that's slewed off the road. The driver is gone, but Vera discovers a toddler strapped into a car seat. Soon after she transfers the child to her own car, she realizes that she's close to Brockburn, the once grand family home of the Stanhopes, and decides to go there. She last visited the place with her father when she was 15, and remembers that "the family had been unfailingly polite. That branch of the clan used politeness as a weapon of mass destruction." At Brockburn, the abandoned car's driver, a young woman, is found murdered behind the house. Vera assembles her loyal, if at times exasperated, homicide team to investigate, and comes to realize that the "whole case... was about families, about what held them together and what ripped them apart." This fair-play mystery brims with fully developed suspects and motives that are hidden in plain sight. Skillful misdirection masks the killer's identity. This page-turner is must reading for fans as well as newcomers.
Great character development and story line. Keeps you guessing till the very end!
Excellent addition to the series
Expertly written, nice character development. Hard to put down.
The Darkest Evening
Outstanding book! I greatly enjoyed reading this. Vera is a favorite character. The story was captivating and I had to keep reading until the killer was identified. I really enjoy watching the Vera series, and look forward to season 11 ahead!! Thank you to the author for such an awesome book!!