Harbour Street (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves
|Harbour Street (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The sixth book in the DI Vera Stanhope series is a knotty lystery which had me guessing until the very end - and I still missed the murderer! Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 10h/11m||Date: January 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth was escorting his daughter home from a pre-Christmas school concert using the Newcastle metro, not least because the snow had started. A rather smart, elderly woman took a seat but when the train was stopped because of the bad weather Jessie noticed that the old lady had not left her seat and went to wake her - only Margaret Krukowski had been fatally stabbed as she sat on the train. Christmas wasn't D I Vera Stanhope's favourite time of year and she wasn't upset to have work to do to break up the festivities; far better to be on her way to the Northumberland seaside town of Mardle with Joe Ashworth. Margaret Krukowski had lived in the boarding house at 1 Harbour Street as well as working there. In fact, she'd lived there before it became a boarding house.
What becomes increasingly obvious is that the murder might have taken place on the metro, but the causes and the answers lie in the close-knit town of Mardle and specifically in Harbour Street. Only, the residents - most of whom seem to have held Margaret in high affection - either know remarkably little about her or are unwilling to say much. Even pointing out that protecting her reputation is going to do no good and might mean that the killer is not caught doesn't get a lot of response. Vera Stanhope has her ways though. Then another woman is murdered, only this time she was an amateur prostitute but there's an obvious link in that Margaret Krukowski seems to have been Dee's only friend. There's also a connection to the local women's refuge where Margaret was a volunteer and supporter and Dee was a resident until she was thrown out.
It's a brilliant story. I havered back and forth as to who the murderer might be but really had no firm idea right up until Ann Cleeves put me out of my suspense and then it was someone completely unexpected - but utterly obvious when you looked at the facts. The story is brilliant: I listened to an audio download and thought that it was ten hours well spent. It's unusual to get such a great story populated by characters who are all totally believable - and it's not just the major characters who come over so well. Even minor characters are fully fleshed. There's a great sense of location too and a wonderful feel for the seaside town in winter.
I listened to an audio download of the book, narrated by Janine Birkett. It was perhaps a mistake to come to this narration direct from listening to Anne Dover's Hidden Depths where I felt that Dover had Vera Stanhope perfectly, as well as every other cast member, male and female. Birkett did female voices well (although I preferred Dover's Stanhope) but I was less convinced by the male voices. It's a minor quibble though and only marginally affected my enjoyment.
At this point I usually thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book the the Bookbag - but this time I bought the download myself. It was worth every penny too.
Each book in the Vera Stanhope series reads well as a standalone. You might know about incidental happenings in CID out of order, but I haven't found any spoilers. I've enjoyed Hidden Depths as an audiobook. We can also recommend Ann Cleeve's Shetland Novels.
You could get a free audio download of Harbour Street (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Harbour Street (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Harbour Street (D I Vera Stanhope) by Ann Cleeves at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.