cover image Hidden Depths: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

Hidden Depths: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

Ann Cleeves. Minotaur, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-13517-9

In Cleeves’s captivating third mystery featuring Det. Chief Insp. Vera Stanhope of the Northumberland police (after Telling Tales), Vera and the members of her team look into the murder of teenager Luke Armstrong, who was found strangled in his bathtub. The way Luke’s body was laid out, anointed with perfumed oils and surrounded by wild flowers, suggests a certain respect for the victim. A college student is later discovered on a beach, once again with flowers scattered around the corpse. The two murders appear to be related, but Vera and crew will have to do a lot of digging to determine the exact connection between them. All the players—the suspects, police officers, and surviving relatives of the victims—are fully realized individuals. Vera, a reflective middle-aged woman who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, is particularly vivid. She drinks her beer straight from the bottle and seldom says no to a drop of whisky. Readers will want to devour the entire series just for the pleasure of spending time in Vera’s complex and inviting world. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary (U.K.). (Jan.)