The Crow Trap

by Ann Cleeves

The Book

The Crow Trap is the first book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series—which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, VERA. 


Three very different women come together at isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal ...Rachael, the team leader, is still reeling after a double betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Anne, a botanist, sees the survey as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace, a strange, uncommunicative young woman, hiding plenty of her own secrets. 


Rachael is the first to arrive at the cottage, where she discovers the body of her friend, Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide—a verdict Rachael refuses to accept. When another death occurs, a fourth woman enters the picture—the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope ...Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices and The Glass Room. Ann Cleeves' Shetland series (BBC television drama SHETLAND) contains five titles, of which Dead Water is the most recent.

A Reader's Opinion 

This is the first in the Vera Stanhope series by the very talented Ann Cleeves. It's now been made into a successful TV drama. I've never seen it, but my son live's next-door to the actress who plays Vera, so I got curious enough to buy the book. 


It's a very well written story about the murder of a young conservationist, Grace, and her father Edmund. The best thing about the book is the setting. The countryside and wildlife of the North Pennines are described beautifully.


Grace was living in an old farm house donated to the Wildlife Trust when the last owner, Constance Baikie, passed away, with two other women conservationists. Their purpose was to write an environmental impact report to help decide whether a proposed quarry could be dug into the area. There are many people against the idea, and many people that would gain financially from the quarry, but who would gain the most if the environmental impact report couldn't be finished, or the results were fake? The brilliantly written character Inspector Vera Stanhope and her sidekick, Ashworth, will be investigating. 


This was a great, all round, book with everything from murder scenes, family secrets and comedy. Highly recommended.


Reviewer's Rating:

Reviewed By: Yolanda

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