cover image The Seagull: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

The Seagull: A Vera Stanhope Mystery

Ann Cleeves. Minotaur, $25.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-12486-9

A prison outreach leads to a meeting between Vera Stanhope and John Brace, a now-incarcerated corrupt former police superintendent, in Diamond Dagger Award–winner Cleeves’s engrossing eighth mystery featuring the Northumbrian detective inspector (after 2016’s The Moth Catcher). Brace, part of the criminal Gang of Four led by Vera’s father, Hector, asks her to help his troubled daughter, Patty, and in return promises to disclose the burial site of another Gang of Four member who’s been missing for two decades. When Vera’s team investigates, they find a second skeleton—that of a young woman who might be Patty’s birth mother. Their search for her identity reaches back to the 1990s, when an elegant club called the Seagull dominated the waterfront in northern Whitley Bay, England, and the Gang of Four graduated from the illegal animal trade to human trafficking and murder. Details about Hector’s crimes and dismissiveness toward his daughter provide insight into Vera’s formative years. This nuanced, adroitly paced tale should satisfy both series fans and new readers. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary Agent (U.K.). (Sept.)