cover image The Rising Tide

The Rising Tide

Ann Cleeves. Minotaur, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-20453-0

In bestseller Cleeves’s melancholy 10th Vera Stanhope novel (after 2020’s The Darkest Evening), sexagenarians Rick Kelsall, Annie Laidler, and two other old friends reunite at the tidal island convent-turned-guesthouse where they met as teens during a school retreat. When Annie finds Rick’s body hanging from a rafter, Det. Insp. Stanhope and her Northumbria Police colleagues cross the island’s causeway to investigate. Rick may have lost his BBC hosting gig over sexual misconduct allegations, but he recently signed a lucrative book deal and didn’t leave a suicide note. After an autopsy reveals someone smothered Rick before stringing him up, Vera and company uncover myriad viable suspects; not only was Rick’s BBC departure more contentious than reported, but he was writing a roman à clef in which he planned to expose his oldest pals’ darkest secrets. Cleeves crafts a clever central puzzle, then confers remarkable emotional complexity using her keenly drawn characters’ advancing age, wistful nostalgia, and thorny shared history. A pinwheeling third-person narrative drives the pace, while Vera’s candor tempers the plot’s darker elements. Fair-play mystery fans will delight. Agent: Sarah Menguc, Sarah Menguc Literary (U.K.). (Sept.)