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The Darkest Evening

(Vera Stanhope #9)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  7,590 ratings  ·  1,134 reviews
On the first snowy night of winter, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope sets off for her home in the hills. Though the road is familiar, she misses a turning and soon becomes lost and disorientated. A car has skidded off the narrow road in front of her, its door left open, and she stops to help. There is no driver to be seen, so Vera assumes that the owner has gone to find h ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 8th 2020 by Minotaur Books (first published September 3rd 2020)
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Linda Frances It's certainly possible to enjoy the book as a standalone, but, in my opinion, it's even better to read the series in order. Vera and her team have ev…moreIt's certainly possible to enjoy the book as a standalone, but, in my opinion, it's even better to read the series in order. Vera and her team have evolved through the series, and reading the books in order gives you a better understanding of the nuances of characters and their relationships. (less)

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Average rating 4.35  · 
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 ·  7,590 ratings  ·  1,134 reviews

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Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ann Cleeves latest offering in the DCI Vera Stanhope, set in the atmospheric location of Northumberland, is a delight with its Christie echoes of a country house and estate, a young woman found murdered in the grounds in a heavy snow blizzard, as a party and much merriment takes place inside. This is a story of a small community, the many and varied natures of families, what holds them together, what rips them apart, the dysfunctional nature of many, class and inequality, along with landowners a ...more
David Putnam
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Yikes, not for me. (I really hate giving these kind of reviews)
I won this book on Goodread giveaway and hence felt obligated.
This is the first book by this author I have tried to read. An editorial note, as a rule I’m not a big fan of the police procedural mysteries set in Great Britain, never have been. But I thought I’d give this one a go.
This is a “dark and stormy night,” locked room mystery. There’s a dinner party and the weather turns foul trapping the party goers in an old mansion overnigh
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, uk-crime
3.5 stars rounded up. This is a police procedural set in Northumbria, England. It is book 9 in the Vera Stanhope series. I have read 2 other books by this author, 1 of them, The Crow Trap in the Vera Stanhope series. That book did not introduce Vera until 1/3rd of the way into the book. This book introduces Vera at the beginning. She finds an abandoned vehicle in a snowstorm. The vehicle has a baby in it. Vera goes to a nearby house, owned by distant relatives, to call in her team to start a sea ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engaging plot, characters and the feel of Northumberland setting. I liked all ingredients. Despite having watched some episodes of the TV series, I never dared to read a book featuring mysterious Vera. My mistake!
The murder of a young mother close to the place so important to Vera narrows the number of suspects and allows a reader to find out more about DI Stanhope. I already had some idea of her personality and methods, but this book digs deep into Vera's past which was not all roses ...
Nilufer Ozmekik
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I imagine myself curling up on the couch, wrapping up my blanket, sipping my brandy, sitting next to fireplace, hearing the fire crackling sound as it is snowing and cold outside when I’m reading this heart throbbing, dark mystery. But instead of that I’m wearing baggy sweatpants, it’s sunny outside, birds are chirping and I’m drinking ginger-cayenne-lemon shots! Welcome to my quarantine read! But thanks to the author’s world building, I can visualize myself at somewhere else!

After being addict
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I have watched every episode of Vera, but until now, have not read any of the books. My mistake! This is a well done police procedural. No fast paced craziness here. Just good solid investigating by a solid team. The book is very character driven, not just the team but every person in the village and how they interconnect.
The premise is that on a snowy night, Vera comes upon an abandoned car on the side of the road. Driver door open, with a baby still in the back seat. She takes the baby to the
“Vera sat heavily on one of the wooden chairs by the table.

‘Stick the kettle on, pet. I’m parched and this might take a while. It’s not a courtesy call.’

I considered counting the number of cuppas, both tea and coffee, but why be so petty? It was December, they’d had blizzards in Northumbria (northern England), and it was bl**dy freezing, so Vera always welcomed a warm mug to wrap her frozen hands around.

This is the latest book. I’ve not read Ann Cleeves before, but I’m a longtime fan of Vera
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
My thanks to St. Martin's/Minataur Press, Ann Cleeves and Netgalley.
I've been wanting to read one of these Vera Stanhope books for a very long time! I saw this come up on Netgalley, and hoped that it would work as a standalone. It did!
I found a place in my heart for these characters. Vera especially is brash and take charge. That's my kinda woman!
But, what I loved most was the location! I'm just one of those folk who needs to feel comfortable where the action is. I could live here! I would actu
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rural Northumberland, a blinding blizzard with no visibility, village signs covered in heavy snow. Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope came upon a car, driver's door left wide open, a toddler strapped into a car seat. "Wouldn't a mother have shut the door to keep out the bitter wind?" Assuming the driver went for help, Vera left a note and work business card on the dashboard stating she was taking the baby to safety. Safety turned out to be Brockburn, the Stanhope family estate. "Vera wasn't going ...more
Grabbing the latest book in this series is a no-brainer for a couple of reasons. First, I know I’m in for a well written, twisty murder mystery. Second, I get to spend time with the wonderful Brenda Blethyn. Ever since I saw her portrayal of Vera Stanhope, she’s become the voice in my head as I read these books. And that’s no bad thing.

The story begins when Vera ends up with a baby. But not the usual way. In the middle of a blizzard, she comes across an abandoned car with a tiny person inside.
Diane S ☔
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love this author. I love her plots and her characters, and of course the setting. This is from the series she wrote first. Vera Stanhope is older, kind of clunky and frumpy, but she has a first rate mind. Once again in Vera, she has assembled a very likable, relatable character and a team to go with.

This mystery hits close to home for Vera, to a place she has never been accepted or included. Vera though little cares what others think of her, though she does have moments of introspection. She i
Ann Cleeves latest novel in her Vera Stanhope series has an eerie, gothic feel and could almost be a murder mystery from the golden age of crime fiction, featuring a murder on a bitterly cold snowy night on a country estate surrounded by dark woods, where a house party is taking place. Vera Stanhope arrives just before dinner is served, clutching an infant she found in an abandoned car on the road not far from the house. The country estate is one known to Vera, a place where her father grew up b ...more
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-books
The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves is the ninth entry in the Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope series but it reads well as a stand-alone. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this is my first Vera book, after having enjoyed the television series for many years. I now intend to read the rest of the series as well as other series by Ann Cleeves. The story begins with Vera Stanhope on her way home on a stormy winter’s night. On the road home, she spots a car on the side of the road. The driver’s ...more
Carolyn Walsh
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to NetGalley and St.Martins Press for this compelling ARC. I had never read this series but found it worked very well as a stand-alone. I have been streaming and enjoying the TV series, Vera, and now intend to read more books by Ann Cleeves.

The Darkest Night is character-driven and also very descriptive. Set in modern times in a small, rural English village, there are throwbacks to an earlier era and way of life. Centre to the story is a family of landed gentry living in Brockburn,
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of police procedural mysteries
Recommended to Paula by: Publisher
Ann Cleeves has just proved again that she is an outstanding author of police procedural mysteries.

This is my first Vera Stanhope book. It is very entertaining and a page-turner. The fact that this is #9 in the series does not take away from reading this as a stand-alone novel. If you like well written, character driven mystery books this is a winner.

In THE DARKEST EVENING, British DI Vera Standhope comes across an abandoned car with a young child in it during a snowstorm. She makes her way to
Lori Lamothe
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-tbr
Apparently I'm living under a rock because I'd never read anything by Ann Cleeves and had no idea there's a TV series that features protagonist Vera Stanhope. I can't say I'm sorry though, because now I've got a new author to devour. Cleeves knows her craft and The Darkest Evening is a well done whodunit Agatha Christie style. It's beautifully written, expertly plotted and every character exerted some sort of pull on me. And have I mentioned I didn't figure out the murderer's identity until 91 p ...more
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Detective Vera Stanhope is driving home in an unexpected early snowstorm when she makes a wrong turn due to bad visibility and finds a car off the road with the door wide open. Vera gets out of her SUV to make sure no one is injured and finds it empty until she hears a cry in the back seat and sees a young toddler strapped into his carseat and no mother or father to be found anywhere nearby. There is no phone reception on her mobile so she looks for the nearest house so she can call the station ...more
Gentle and persistent snow turns into heavy blizzards.

That's what Inspector Vera Stanhope comes face-to-face with when leaving the police station one evening. All that swirling and blurring has played havoc on her sense of direction. A missed turn here or there in the Northumberland countryside can frost you in more ways than one.

Vera's windshield clears for a brief moment and she spots a white vehicle left to the side of the road with the door open. Vera pulls over to help. She peers inside and
Driving home from work – against the advice of her fellow detectives – DI Vera Stanhope began to think they might have been right. But she wouldn’t let the flurries of snow and icy wind deter her. Getting lost wasn’t something she could possibly do, but it was fortuitous she did, as she came across a car which had slithered into a ditch. The driver’s door was open with no driver in sight. But there was a baby in a car seat in the back. What would have taken the person away from the car, leaving ...more
Amy Imogene Reads
4 stars

The perfect read for a winter night... with a dash of murder and buried secrets, naturally.

Enjoyment: ★★★★ 1/2
Plot/Pacing: ★★★★
Villain(s)/Reveal(s): ★★★★ 1/2

A car is found on the side of a snowed-in road later one dark evening. The door is open. Inside the rapidly freezing car is a small baby boy staring out.

What happened to the mother? Why did she appear to go peacefully, yet leave her child to the freezing elements with the door open?

Vera Stanhope and her squad of British cops are on
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zread-in-2020
The ninth instalment in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series is a variant of the traditional "Country House murder", set in a snowy Northumberland landscape in the lead up to Christmas.
Disoriented while driving home in a blizzard, DCI Vera Stanhope comes across an abandoned car, its drivers' door left open, by the side of the road. When she pulls over to investigate, she finds a toddler alone in the car, still strapped into his carseat. Vera sets off with the well-bundled infant in search of help a
Producervan in Cornville, AZ from New Orleans & L.A.

The Darkest Evening, a Vera Stanhope novel (Vera Stanhope #9) by Ann Cleeves. St. Martin's Press. Minotaur Books. Mystery & Thrillers. Publication date: 08 Sep 2020. 374 pages. ISBN: 9781250204509. Electronic ARC. 5 Stars.

This is my second Ann Cleeves read, and I think she’s fantastic. I liked this standalone even better than the last. Pitch perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed this latest book featuring Ann Cleeves’ superstar character, Vera, as well as her use of regional slang words like ‘cack-hande
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is a good Mystery set in small village in snowy Northumberland. DI Vera Stanhope sets off for home, but gets lost in a blizzard. She comes across a car abandoned at the side of the road with the door open. Upon inspection she finds a baby strapped into a car seat in the back seat.

As she drives on, Stanhope realizes that she is near Brockburn, the once grand house where her father grew up. She has a complicated relationship with
Gail C.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Vera Stanhope. That said, this book fulfills all my expectations regarding the writing, the mystery, the pacing, and the solution. From the outset, the book is engaging as Cleeves begins with a quick look at the victim. Throughout the book the point of view is most often Vera Stanhope’s, with occasional peeks into the minds of two of her detectives; Joe and Holly, as well as even shorter peeks into the minds of some of the suspects.
In this novel, Vera has decide
Bam cooks the books ;-)
This is my second book by Ann Cleeves, having read The Long Call, the first in her Two Rivers series, last September. But this is my first read in her long-running Vera Stanhope series and I'm happy to say it wasn't difficult at all to jump into the series with book #9.

Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is caught in a blinding snowstorm on her way home after a long day on the job in rural Northumberland. She comes upon a car that is partially pulled off the road. The driver's door is standing op
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ebook-owned
I'm somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star on this one. It was my first outing with Ann Cleeves and I must say I was charmed! This is well into the Vera Stanhope series, but I had not read any of the previous books & I can safely say you don't need to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one. While this is not my very favorite trope (an isolated closed circle mystery), it does have a lot of elements I enjoy in a procedural whodunnit: small town/rural setting, the claustrophobia o ...more
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
So nice to read this latest of Ann Cleeves’ Vera series. It’s like being in a comfortable chair in a cozy room on a stormy day. Cleeves and Vera will capably, and with interesting plot lines and characters, see you through. This story begins with Vera trying to drive home from the station in what is becoming a dangerous snowstorm. She can’t recognize any landmarks and then comes upon a car that appears to have gone off the road. She pulls her old Land Rover off near it to check for injured peopl ...more
Leslie Ray
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The ninth installment of the Vera Stanhope police procedural/mystery series is quite enjoyable and starts as an almost "closed-room" type of whodunit. It soon develops, however, with the complexities of her own family involvement, albeit her somewhat estranged family from her father, Hector's side.
Vera is driving home and comes across an abandoned vehicle with a baby inside and no sign of the driver. She is close to the home of her relatives and she party crashes their event with the baby in tow
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading the Vera series has been my pandemic pleasure. The books just got better and better, the characters are wonderful, Vera and her team. Looking forward to another book in this series!
Dee Arr
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Vera Stanhope novel, and it was definitely a treat. Author Ann Cleeves has crafted a wonderful murder mystery, guaranteed to snare the reader right from the start.

Vera finds herself lost and turned about while in the middle of a snowstorm, ending up outside the country home of relatives. It is there she finds a car with its door open, a baby inside. The body of a woman is found in the snow not far from the car. Thus the mystery begins, and Vera has her hands full trying to unti
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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...


Other books in the series

Vera Stanhope (9 books)
  • The Crow Trap (Vera Stanhope, #1)
  • 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)
  • The Seagull (Vera Stanhope #8)

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