About The Book
Vera Stanhope, star of ITV’s Vera, returns in the tenth novel in number one bestseller Ann Cleeves’ acclaimed series.
Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.
Now, when one of them is found hanged, Vera is called in. Learning that the dead man had recently been fired after misconduct allegations, Vera knows she must discover what the friends are hiding, and whether the events of many years before could have led to murder then, and now . . .
But with the tide rising, secrets long-hidden are finding their way to the surface, and Vera and the team may find themselves in more danger than they could have believed possible . . .
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Despite watching most of the televised productions of Vera this is the first book from that series I have read. And despite having a lot of appreciation for the series, in particular Brenda Blethyn, this is the first time that I really felt that I got to know the real Vera. I could see her insecurities, her regrets and her devotion to her team that she wasn’t always capable of showing. I could also see how that affected her team, in particular Holly who often felt unappreciated or ignored.
You got to meet the small group of friends immediately, school friends who were still in contact 50 years after leaving school and who met every five years on Holy Island. They didn’t appear to have much in common or, at times, even that much liking for one another. There was resentment about each other’s lives even though they wouldn’t admit it to it. I felt that their only connection was the guilt over the death of one of their group years ago. Annie featured the most out of all of them and she was the only one who I really had any liking for. She had suffered the biggest loss but had managed to move on and accept the way her life had turned out.
But it was Vera who captivated me. With this case, she had to dig through fifty years of friendship and rivalry to try and work out if the deaths were connected. These weren’t people who had only known each other for a brief period of time and they were now at the time in their lives when they were thinking about retirement or illness. There was little that they could fear from her, apart from awkward questions about the past.
In her personal life, I liked her memories of Hector, her loneliness, her pretence at showing an interest in her colleague’s private lives and her fearful but wry acceptance that she was approaching the end of her career. I have read books previously where the leading detective’s private life was revealed but this portrayal stood out for its honesty. Especially in the closing pages of the novel where is was very easy to see her feelings.
I read this book easily as a standalone novel, I want to know what happens next but I also want to catch up on the earlier books in the series.