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The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope #1)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,112 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Vera Stanhope's first appearance was in The Crow Trap, published in 1999 and now available in a new edition; it forms the third episode of the TV seies Vera, adapted by Stephen Brady.

At the isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1999)
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The Crow Trap is the first in the Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves and one of the books in the series that the hugely popular ITV television show Vera is based upon. The extremely talented Brenda Blethyn is excellent playing the role of Vera in the TV show and it’s definitely worth a watch.

If you enjoy English murder mysteries, this is an extremely well written, engaging read and a great start to the series. Although over 500 pages long, it doesn't feel like it as the writing reads easily an
This, the first of the Vera Stanhope mysteries, could have benefited from a little editing. At over 500 pages, with Vera not even appearing until after the first 200 pages, it was overlong. In the book, three women come together to investigate the possible effect on wildlife a new quarry operation would have. They, as well as Vera, are from the area and the plot swirls around the various relationships of members of the community. The complicated plot sorts itself out at the end of the book in a ...more
I had read many good reviews about this author, so being a lover of British mysteries, I decided to give her book a try. Well I was not disappointed, what a great read! This is the first novel I had read by Ann Cleeves and it won't be my last. It is also the first book in the Vera Stanhope detective series. She is not even introduced until you have read 2/3 of the book but the other characters are so fascinating that you don't even notice. Before I had even finished this book, I ordered the seco ...more
Montse Gallardo
Una novela entretenida, aunque con un final algo decepcionante (sin destripar demasiado, esperaba que la explicación del misterio fuera algo más compleja que una persona enferma).

Me ha llamado la atención que toda la historia gire en torno a mujeres (aunque hay personajes masculinos) y que sean ellas quienes aportan su visión sobre los acontecimientos que se relatan... aunque al mismo tiempo, no creo que aporten una visión demasiado diferente que si fueran personajes masculinos; al fin y al cabo
Tanja Berg
Rating 4* out of 5. This was my first acquaintance with detective inspector Vera Stanhope - who, according to herself, is fat, ugly and drinks too much. Her department fears her lashing tongue. I find Vera very sympathetic.

Julie Armstrong comes home to find her son death in the bathtub, arranged with flowers. A week the body of a young woman is found in a crevice on the beach - murdered and also theatrically arranged with flowers. The young woman is found by a group of bird watchers, all of who
Crow Trap is the 1st book in the Vera Stanhope series. I was introduced to Ann Cleeve's wonderful writing from reading her Shetland series. I enjoyed this book very much. The format of the book is different than most mystery books. We are first introduced to three females who are doing environmental studies. The study is to see what changes to the environment a proposed quarry will do the the country side in the North Pennines England. Vera makes her appearance a little over 200 pages into the b ...more
Crow Trap was both an enjoyable read and a good mystery in an atmospheric setting. The story begins with three vastly different women brought together to stay in an isolated countryside cottage to conduct an environmental study prior to a land development project. There is a murder and a female detective assigned to the case. What makes this series stand out is the detective Vera Stanhope. She's a far cry from the beautiful, sexy, stereotypical modern female detective, and that makes her an inte ...more
Definitely a different mystery writer. I enjoyed it very much. I had seen a couple of episodes of the TV series, Vera previously and Ann Cleeves had received some recommendations from my goodreads acquaintances. So I finally got the first book and took the time to read it. Quite different from the series which is, of course, Vera-centric. In the book, you don't really meet Vera Stanhope until about half way through and she is almost peripheral as we explore the other women's lives and the events ...more
A cracking debut for Vera Stanhope and an original crime novel from Ann Cleeves - even though, very unusually for me, I clocked the likely murderer fairly early on.

Vera, who cannot avoid bringing to mind Andy Dalziel (and this is a novel of Reginald Hill standards), doesn't fetch up in any major way until half way through the book, by which time we've looked at life through several different pairs of eyes.

The environmental theme had many different facets and examined with very little sentiment.
Beverley hopper
totally love this book gripping story and laughable at vera stanhopes thought i could murder a beer after been offered a cup of tea love the story that keeps you guessing who dunnit right till the end
Vera burst into the literary scenes back in 1999 and both she and her creator Ann Cleeves have put the North East of England firmly on the literary map.

we've recreated the booktrial of Vera's North East England here -: Take the Vera tour here

Set mainly in the remote landscape of the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey.

They are to stay at a local cottage and live together whilst their work is completed. But each of the woman comes with more
John Lee
For a debut novel or at least the first in a series, this one is a cracker.

I liked the way that the beginning of the book is divided into three parts as each of the focus characters tells things from their prospective. I wondered if this was the first of the Vera Stanhope series as it is quite late in the book before she puts in an apprearance. I have read another of the series and found I enjoyed it more if I got the UK television adaptation of the series out of my mind.
In the reading of this o
I've seen some of the ITV flims made from this series and I'd say they cast it well, except that the actress is better looking than Vera is described. Vera's approach to criminal investigation seems all over the map in that she keeps some information strictly to herself, not even telling her team (and with the exception of her sergeant, Joe Ashworth, they have no names or faces)but at other times she'll talk to anyone about details- civilians, potential suspects, and all. We learn about her back ...more
Lynne Tull
This is a new author and series for me. Anne Cleeves writes about the adventures of her heroine, Vera Stanhope. Anne Cleeves has a talent for developing her characters. I must say, however, that the main character is not really a sympathetic one. By the time Vera captured the murderer I knew the characters in depth. They came alive on the pages of this mystery/story. There were two things that bothered me. One was the flow of the story. It seemed to jump into the middle of an action and I had no ...more
I registered a book at!

First in the Vera Stanhope series. I look forward to going through them all.

The story takes place in the North Pennines, a remote part of northern England. Cleeves seems to like the remote, isolated areas of the UK.

This hefty volume concerns itself with the main characters in the mystery for almost the first full half of the book. Vera Stanhope doesn't come into it until the middle. We are introduced to Rachael
What a great book! This story is narrated by several voices. A quarry project has been proposed for a large tract of open land. Three women are hired to survey the land and they are staying together in a landmark cottage on the land. All three women have secrets, and ties to the local community, and they are not at ease with one another. The day before the other two women arrive, the leader of the survey, Rachael discovers the body of Bella, one of the landowners and a friend, hanging in a barn. ...more
Rachel, Anne and Grace are all scientists evaluating the wildlife and the habitat of the area soon to be purchased by a quarry concern. All three women have faced difficulties in their lives but now are drawn into a web of murder, betrayal and deceit. Then enter the bag lady who turns out to be Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope. She is female Frost, except there is a great deal more characterization in Cleeve's work than Wingfield's.
Carol Jean
Nice, long, complicated, chewy mystery. The sleuth herself doesn't enter until about halfway through!
I love a good British mystery and this is a pretty good one. I loved the way Ann Cleeves used several points of view to tell the story from different angles. In the first half, the sections for each POV were long enough that you really get immersed in the character. An enjoyable read.
On page 135, wondering if Vera will make an appearance or not?!?

This book had me totally wrapped, every interruption irritated me because all I wanted to do was read on. I have had a soft spot for Vera ever since the tv series. But I wanted to see how Cleeves had portrayed her in her books, so as to familiarize myself with the 'real' Vera. And as I expected, she is even more awkward than in the series. ;)

The real protagonist in this story is the countryside: I can imagine some would find the boo
Roger Neilson
Perhaps I have a soft spot for this as its so wrapped up in stuff I am part of, but I found it a great read, and up until the last pages had no idea who was the suspect.

A long read, but worth it - great descriptive stuff and a nice range of characters.
Dec 24, 2012 Danna marked it as to-read
It's rare for me, adding a book to my must read shelf based on watching one episode of a British TV series, but "Vera" as portrayed by Brenda Blethyn is a brilliant character and made me pay more attention to the writer's credits.
Great read. Lead character different from the TV portrayal and enough changes in the plot so even if you have seen the series, the book is still interesting.
I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover Vera Stanhope! Another recommendation from Goodreads that proved right on the money.

Vera doesn't show up until late in the story, and there's a little too much padding in the first half. Cleeves covers the same ground from the perspective of different characters, which goes more to show off her own cleverness as a writer than to really develop the plot.

I am now at book #4 in the series, and from that vantage point I can recommend The Crow Trap as
S. Lynham
this was the first book by this author I have read and I will be back for more....I never even saw the resolution coming which is pretty unusual...I loved the way she built up the picture of the first victim and carried it through to almost the end before peeling the veneer away...the location is a sad place with very many even sadder people that seems almost overwhelmed by the overweight Vera, huffing and puffing along, prying and coaxing the stories out of those who aren't too interested in ha ...more
Bev Taylor
a vera stanhope novel

three very different women come together to complete n environmental study. this is for a proposed quarry over moorland and of course there r those for and for against.

people stand to make or lose money. plus past secrets could be unearthed with troubling results

murder strikes snd u r thrown into a cleverly plotted psychological thriller.

vera stanhope is a hoot - she would never survive as a big city cop - not least because of her outfits. has she heard of uniform? !

Valentine George
I have to admit, I only discovered Ann Cleeves because of the ITV adaptation of the Vera Stanhope books. I love the TV show, and wasn't sure what to expect from the books. But I really enjoyed The Crow Trap. There are some differences between the books and the show - they certainly mellowed the character for the telly! But it's not as dramatic as with some other detectives (like Inspector Morse), and the plots are similar in the books and the adaptations. The Crow Trap is one of my favourite boo ...more
Gary Van Cott
I gather that this book was originally intended to be a standalone mystery. The author must have liked Vera, who doesn't make her real entrance until almost halfway through, enough that she started a series. This book seems overlong, 535 pages in the paperback edition I read. The author also shies away from supply details at the climactic moment, something she also did in the most recent Shetland Island book (Dead Water).
#1 in the Vera Stanhope series.

Three women working on an environmental impact project find themselves entangled in the consequences of a suicide and old emotional baggage.

I enjoyed this novel and was happily unable to put all the pieces together until the end. I am glad that I started the series out of order, though, because the one I read was better than this. I may not have decided to keep going if I had judged the series by this title alone.

Vera Stanhope doesn't even show up until the book i
Shirley Schwartz
I became interested in this very unique and picturesque woman detective after watching the PBS series. When I found the first book in the series at a wonderful used book store, I had to buy it. Vera Stanhope is a wonderful fictional character. And Ann Cleeves does a fine job of drawing this character as well as the many other strong characters in this book. I loved the setting as well - Northumberland, England and Ms. Cleeves descriptions of the countryside and of the North Pennines are very rea ...more
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Kindle English My...: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves 2 8 May 30, 2015 07:42AM  
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Ann is the author of the books behind ITV's VERA, now in it's third series, and the BBC's SHETLAND, which will be aired in December 2012. Ann's DI Vera Stanhope series of books is set in Northumberland and features the well loved detective along with her partner Joe Ashworth. Ann's Shetland series bring us DI Jimmy Perez, investigating in the mysterious, dark, and beautiful Shetland Islands...

More about Ann Cleeves...

Other Books in the Series

Vera Stanhope (7 books)
  • Telling Tales (Vera Stanhope, #2)
  • Hidden Depths (Vera Stanhope, #3)
  • Silent Voices (Vera Stanhope, #4)
  • The Glass Room (Vera Stanhope, #5)
  • Harbour Street (Vera Stanhope, #6)
  • The Moth Catcher (Vera Stanhope #7)
Raven Black (Shetland, #1) White Nights (Shetland, #2) Red Bones (Shetland, #3) Blue Lightning (Shetland, #4) Dead Water (Shetland, #5)

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