AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
WINNER OF THE AGATHA AWARD FOR BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL
From Ann Cleeves—bestselling and award-winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, both of which are hit TV shows—comes the first in a gripping new series, told with deep compassion and searing insight.
“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny
A PEOPLE MAGAZINE BEST BOOK OF FALL 2019
In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.
Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.
The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Following on the success of her two hugely popular series, the Vera Stanhope and Shetland Island mysteries, Ann Cleeves debuts her new Two Rivers series. Set on the coast of North Devon, The Long Call shows Cleeves doing what she does best: exploring the underbelly of close-knit communities amid breathtaking landscapes. When the book’s hero—reticent detective Matthew Venn, who has recently returned to the area after a long estrangement—investigates a murder, he’s put on a collision course with his own past. The story’s got plenty of twists, but its layered characters and sensitive explorations of same-sex marriage, religious intolerance, and disability make this an especially absorbing read.
Set in Devon, England, this thoughtful series launch from bestseller Cleeves (the Vera Stanhope series) introduces Det. Insp. Matthew Venn, who spent his childhood among the Barum Brethren, a strict evangelical community led by the charismatic Dennis Salter. As a teenager, Matthew rejected the teachings of the community and was banished. Now in his late 30s, the tightly wound and reserved Matthew works in nearby Barnstable and is married to Jon, who runs a multi-use community arts center called Woodward. When a local man turns up stabbed to death on a beach near Matthew and Jon's house, the resulting investigation draws a few too many connections to Woodward including that the victim volunteered there and soon Matthew's past and present lives begin to collide. Cleeves makes good use of Devon local color and populates this subtle, expertly paced mystery with distinctive supporting characters. Hopefully, future installments will delve even further into the intriguing Barum Brethren.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Perfect British mystery
When a murder occurs on a strip of beach in Devon, Matthew Venn is on the case to try to solve it. This murder hits close to home because he lives not far from the site of the killing, but also because the man murdered has ties to his husband Jonathan’s place of work. Death is prominent in this day in Matthew’s life, as he has just left the burial of his own father, someone he’d been estranged from for years.
As the pieces of the murder puzzle come together, not only is Jonathan’s place of work, The Woodyard centering in the story, but also Jonathan himself. Matthew has to distance himself from thinking of his husband as his husband, and more as a possible suspect in the crime. But there are plenty of other characters that might be just as guilty. Could his parents’ religious order The Brethren have anything to do with it? How many people are involved in this crime and why?
Ann Cleeves has woven a tale of suspense and mystery in a gloomy little seaside town. The Long Call is not only in the perfect setting, but has fantastic characters as well. She creates little turns and drops small hints throughout the story, never revealing enough until the time has come. It is a great mystery how all the pieces will come together in the end, but come together they do. Each character plays their own special part in the story, but you’re never really sure who are the good guys and who are the bad guys right up until the finish.
As a huge fan of books based in Britain, this one doesn’t disappoint. It has all the elements of the perfect British mystery. I enjoyed the story as well as the characters. I have not read any of Cleeves novels before, but I certainly am going to add them to my to read list after this book.
The Long Call
Wow! This was outstanding! I could not stop reading this! Beautifully written. I have greatly enjoyed the Vera series on PBS, but this is my first book by this author. Her characters are so relatable and the detective is so likable, humble, and clever!
Purchased this book expecting a more