25th May 2021.
This is another moody, complex murder mystery in the Vera Stanhope series. She seems to be at her best when she had few or no leads to follow.
This time it’s her sergeant, Joe Ashworth, who finds a woman stabbed on the metro in Newcastle. She’s soon identified and Vera’s in Harbour Street, where the woman lived in an attic flat above a guest house. It’s a rundown neighbourhood where people seem to live most of their lives. Vera soon discovers that the victim was well-loved and respected. She kept to herself and no one can think of a reason why anyone would kill her.
With no obvious motive, no real suspects and little to go on, it’s a difficult investigation. Then another woman is murdered and Vera makes connections. She’s soon on the right path for an ending I didn’t see coming.
The pace is measured and evocative. The atmosphere is dark and unsettling. Everyone’s a suspect while the team struggles to find a motive for the murders. But the team keep chipping away, probing, searching, uncovering secrets, flushing out small nuggets of information and anomalies that finally make sense to Vera.
It’s another absorbing and riveting read where Vera dominates proceedings, revealing more about herself and her past, showing a sharp, often wicked humour that brings lighter moments to the story. It’s all blended together with supreme skill for another excellent investigation for the larger than life detective.
A silent community. A murderer among them . . .
As the snow falls in Newcastle, Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie travel home on the busy Metro. When the train stops unexpectedly due to bad weather, Jessie notices that one woman doesn’t leave and when trying to wake her they find that the passenger has been fatally stabbed.
With no witnesses DI Vera Stanhope looks into the victim’s past and discovers she lived for years on Harbour Street, in a rundown Northumberland fishing town. As she questions the local residents Vera begins to suspect they know more than they are letting on, and the killer is hiding in their midst.