cover image The Moth Catcher: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

The Moth Catcher: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

Ann Cleeves. Minotaur, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-10542-4

In British author Cleeves’s atmospheric and well-wrought seventh mystery featuring Det. Insp. Vera Stanhope (after 2015’s Harbour Street), 25-year-old graduate student Patrick Randle has come from London to house-sit for a grand family in the gentle Northumberland community of Valley Farm, but shortly into his stay, he’s found dead by the roadside. Vera later discovers the body of a middle-aged man in Patrick’s room; the two turn out to be connected only through enthusiasm for Lepidoptera. Suspicion falls on an unlikely group, the town’s clique of couples enjoying early retirement. Cleeves expertly draws Vere’s complex relations with her fellow detectives as well as the hidden springs of tension in the circle affected by the crime, touching on class relations, the ennui of middle age, and the deceits, frailties, and tenderness of long marriage. Though the book’s deliberate pace may lose pure thrill seekers, patient readers will be rewarded as dread builds and old secrets surface. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary Agent (U.K.). (Oct.)