The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

‘The Crow Trap’ is the 1st novel in the Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves. I’ve been avoiding the Vera TV series until I could get round to reading the novels.

A new quarry is planned near a small village in the north of England. But, before the quarry can go ahead, an environmental impact study needs to be undertaken. Rachael Lambert, Anne Preece and Grace Fulwell, each experts in their field, are to stay in a small isolated cottage for several weeks while carrying out their research.

Rachael is the first to arrive and immediately discovers the body of her good friend Bella Furness hanging from a rope. There is a suicide note, but Rachael can’t accept that she would kill herself.

The story is told by each of the three researchers in turn. They each have strong links to the area and a fascinating history that results in conflict between them.

Then there is another murder and DI Vera Stanhope enters the story to investigate.

Vera is one of the most unusual detectives that I have come across. At her first appearance in the novel she was mistaken for a bag lady. She seems to gather most of her information through gossip but is methodical in putting the case together.

At various points in the novel I thought of most of the characters as the murderer but I didn’t come close to getting it right.


This was a brilliant novel. I certainly plan to read the rest of the series and much more by Ann Cleeves. The next novel in the series is – ‘Telling Tales’ and I can’t wait to read it.


Book Published 1999


See a full list of books by Ann Cleeves

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