The Moth Catcher: Ann Cleeves

Posted: May 2, 2016 in Book Awards, England, review, tv crime fiction

Ann CleevesI moved on to read The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves. I am ashamed to admit that this is first novel I have read by this author, having watched and enjoyed the adaptations of her Vera and Shetland book series on television.

The Moth Catcher is the seventh book in the series featuring Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, and it is the sort of novel that if you have become jaded with too much crime fiction will reinvigorate your interest in the genre. This story has everything with a setting in beautiful Northumberland, an interesting plot, superb characters, a biting social commentary and a great trio of detectives lead by the idiosyncratic Vera.

Silver earrings. Make up. Vera wondered if she was on her way out to a special lunch or if she always made the effort. It was clear her husband doted on her.

Vera thought for a moment that she might have found a man if she’d scrubbed up a bit better, then decided no man was worth the time it took to plaster stuff on your face in the morning, when you could have an extra cup of tea instead. 

Vera, Holly Clarke and Joe Ashworth are interesting characters, who investigate a double murder in an isolated valley in Northumberland. The plot is becomes complex when it is discovered that the two victims  are both moth collectors. Vera’s investigations centre on the claustrophobic group of people, who live in the upmarket barn conversions and call themselves the “retired hedonists”. The lives of these comfortably off retirees are contrasted with that of the locals, and the detectives delve deeply into the past histories of the victims and suspects.  

Highly recommended, a very enjoyable read. This is definitely one of the best English detective novels I have read for some time, and shows you don’t necessarily have to go Nordic to get a great crime story. Time permitting I hope to go back and read the earlier books in this series.     

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I very much like the Vera Stanhope series, Norman, so it’s god to hear you enjoyed this one so well.

  2. I started reading this series, and really loved them, but have fallen behind – your post is a reminder that I must read some more of them. Vera is a great character, and Cleeves does terrific plots.

  3. Kathy D. says:

    Omigosh, I have such good fortune. The wonderful, generous Sarah Ward sent me a copy of this book. Now that I see your rave review, I will dig in as soon as I finish a book from Oz.

  4. Norman Price says:

    My wife, who doesn’t normally read crime fiction, picked this one up and now wants to read the earlier books. Another Vera fan is born.

  5. Kathy D. says:

    Yippee! Are either of you hooked on the TV series? I love Brenda Blythen as Vera.

  6. kathyd says:

    I’m enjoying this book now. Just rested for the last few days and read it after a hectic few weeks. Another asset of the books is the wit, slyly put in, some comments to the side, Vera’s thoughts and some other subtle humor. But enough for me.
    I’m wondering why I didn’t start the series earlier, but there is so much to read.
    I got hooked on Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy, which I like so much, but have the third to read right net to me. And an envelope of books from Oz, etc.
    We never run out of books to read.

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