07 Sep The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
Vera is back in a brilliant new murder mystery
Let’s just start this blogtour by saying that I knew before I read this book that I would enjoy it. Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite murder-mystery writers, and Vera Stanhope is my all-time favourite detective.
This story takes her to Lindisfarne, where a group of old friends, brought together there through a retreat/outward bound type weekend in their schooldays, meet for a reunion every five years – despite the fact that their first reunion resulted in the death of one of their members.
After a quarrel, Isobel drove off the island in a huff, was caught in the rising tide, and drowned.
The remaining group, Philip, Annie, Rick, Ken and Louise are all in their 60s now, but it seems old passions die hard when Rick is found swinging from a rafter. Has the disgraced TV presenter hanged himself rather than face charges of sexual harassment?
Vera doesn’t believe so, and of course, she is right. Soon a murder investigation is under way, in which her team must look at events far back in the past for answers to the present.
And they must cast their net of suspects wider than the group on Holy Island – for others from the Only Connect Course still live and work round about the island. There’s Daniel, once married to Annie, whose long-term partner is Vera’s boss, Police and Crime Commissioner Katherine Willmore. That’s going to make Vera’s investigation all the more tricky!
Then there’s Charlotte, Rick’s ex-wife, and scion of a gangster family. Could she have wanted him dead? And what about the teacher, Judith, from the original Only Connect Course – did she get too close to her pupils?
All might have reasons for wanting Rick dead, especially as he’s been hinting about writing a book, exposing secrets of the past.
This was an intriguing and atmospheric story right from the start. Holy Island is a great place to set a murder mystery. Its air of pilgrimage and calm hides danger at the best of time in its rising tides and storm-cast seas, and it’s easy to believe that unholy things can go on there.
The characters are all intriguing, from Anglican priest Philip to lonely Annie to snooty Charlotte. It’s hard to like the victim Rick – he was almost asking to be murdered – but still we want to see justice for him.
And so does Vera. For she is a champion of the dead, and as always, she stretches the rules as she probes and pokes into the affairs of her suspects, always listening more than speaking, and inspiring her own team of Joe Ashworth and Holly Clarke to learn from her.
As usual, too, in Ann Cleeves books, Vera develops more as a character – just when you think you know her, she betrays fresh aspects of a woman shaped by a lonely and neglected childhood. Vera inspires loyalty in her team, and has formed friendships, but she is still very much a loner, on the outside looking in, a fact that’s reinforced for her by the reunion group. What must it be like to know such close bonds? Even if they lead to secrets, lies, and ultimately death for more than one of the party?
It’s this pathos in Ann Cleeves writing that makes her murder-mysteries stand out in a crowded market.
I loved her Shetland detective Jimmy Perez, her new Devonian detective Matthew Venn, but Vera will always be the one I turn to when I want a solid, satisfying read.
The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves is published by Pan Macmillan in hardback, audio and ebook, RRP £20
About the Author
ANN CLEEVES is the author of more than thirty-five critically acclaimed novels, and in 2017 was awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the CWA Diamond Dagger. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope, Jimmy Perez and Matthew Venn, who can be found on television in ITV’s Vera, BBC One’s Shetland and ITV’s The Long Call respectively. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide. 2022 marks 30 years of publishing with Pan Macmillan.
Ann worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. Ann also spends her time advocating for reading to improve health and wellbeing and supporting access to books. In 2021 her Reading for Wellbeing project launched with local authorities across the North East. She lives in Northumberland where the Vera books are set.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Pan Macmillan for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
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