Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Tuesday - First Chapter - First Paragraph - Silent Voices
Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of Silent Voices, the 4th Vera Stanhope mystery by the lovely Ann Cleeves. Here's a secret - I've not yet read the first 3 books in this series. Yes, I am trying to curb my distaste for 'must read in order'. I acquired this book at last spring's Left Coast Crime and met Ann Cleeves at the same time. She is so much fun to visit with. Since I had the book close at hand, I decided to try it. See what you think:
Vera swam slowly. An elderly man with a bathing hat pulled like a fully stretched condom over his head went past her. He wasn't a strong swimmer, but he was faster than she was. She was the sloth of the swimming world. But still she was almost faint with the effort of moving, with pulling the bulk of her body through the water.
She hated the sensation of water on her face--one splash and she imagined she was drowning--so she did a slow breaststroke with her chin a couple of inches from the surface of the pool. Looking, she suspected, like a giant turtle.
She managed to raise her head a little further to look at the clock on the wall. Nearly midday. Soon the fit and fabulous elderly would appear for aqua-aerobics. The women with painted toenails, floral bathing costumes and the smug realization that they'd be the last generation to retire early in some comfort. There'd be loud music, the sound distorted by a tortuous PA system and the appalling acoustics of the pool, so it would hardly seem like music at all. A young woman in Lycra would shout. Vera couldn't bear the thought of it. She'd swum her regulation ten lengths. Well, eight. She couldn't do self-deception if her life depended on it. And now, her lungs heaving, she really felt that her life did depend on it. So sod it! Five minutes in the steam room, a super-strength latte, then back to work.
When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she's uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim's throat - death is never that simple.
Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth, work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands made on him by the job, Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again. Death has never made her feel so alive.
And when they discover that the victim had worked in social services, and had been involved in a shocking case involving a young child, then it appears obvious that the two are somehow connected. Though things are never as they seem...
I have not watched the TV adaptation of this series, Vera, but it's on my list to try. As is the TV adaptation of Cleeves' Shetland series. Have you watched either of them or read any of this author's books?
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I'd like to read this author. That's great how you received the book and met Cleeves. I would keep reading. Enjoy!ReplyDelete
She was so nice. Yes, the book was part of the goodies that we got for attending the conference. And I got it signed by the author!Delete
I've read this book too and watched the Vera TV series. I think the books are better, but Brenda Blethin is good as Vera even if she doesn't look like the Vera in the books. I've met Ann Cleeves too when she gave a talk at Main Street Trading bookshop not far from where I live - she's an excellent speaker as well as a writer. and she's just been awarded with the CWA's Diamond Dagger - see this link - http://www.thecwa.co.uk/news-category/ann-cleeves/ReplyDelete
I noticed that she had been awarded the Diamond Dagger. What an honor! Yes, she is a good speaker and is very passionate about libraries. She and I talked about that. Nan feels the same as you about the books and series.Delete
I read Harbour Street and The Moth Catcher by Cleeves last year--both in the Vera Stanhope series--and enjoyed them both! I've also read a couple of her Shetland Island series with Jimmy Perez.ReplyDelete
I've had her books on my list for so long. I know I own a copy of RAVEN BLACK, the first Shetland book. Now to get these read. I'm attending Malice Domestic (another mystery conference) in late April and Ann Cleeves will be there as well. Hope to get to hear her speak again.Delete
This book sounds intriguing, Kay! I think I have one of her mysteries on a shelf somewhere, but I've never read any of Cleeves' books, nor have I seen Vera. I need to remedy that!ReplyDelete
She's an author that I've meant to read for so, so long. Now to begin - even if it's not the first book in the series. LOLDelete
Great teaser! I have been on a bit of a mystery kick lastely :) Thanks for stopping by Colletta's Kitchen Sink!ReplyDelete
Glad you came by, Colletta! I'm always on a mystery binge, so this is perfect for me. My task is to occasionally read outside the mystery field. LOLDelete
Vera sounds like a great character...and the info on the victim grabbed my attention: someone working in social services! Uh-oh. I might just have to grab this one...out of order!ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.
Yes, the beginning and the whole premise of the book grabbed me too. I think that this series has been available in the UK for quite a while, but the earlier books are just now being reprinted by a US publisher. They are a little tough to find.Delete
I cannot ever "curb my distaste for 'must read in order.' " Some series don't matter a bit - Nero Wolfe, for instance - but almost all series that I read change over time like life. There is a divorce, or a birth, or a change of professional partner that matters to me. Tom has always been the kind of reader who didn't care a bit if books were read out of order. Then he read a later Jo Nesbo and there was too much past information he didn't know so he went back to the beginning. I have watched both series and they are some of the best television I've seen. I haven't read any of the books but keep meaning to. Martin Edwards wrote a nice blog entry about her here: http://doyouwriteunderyourownname.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-cwa-diamond-dagger-and-ann-cleeves.htmlReplyDelete
My problem is that there are so many mystery series that I want to read or have read up to a point and then lost track. Some are very, very long. It's tough thinking about 15 or 20 books to read before you get current.Delete
I was thinking that you told me you had read the books, the Vera books anyway. I must have misunderstood. Maybe we were talking about the TV show. I'll read Martin Edwards' blog entry.
I love mysteries so this looks good to me. I have to say I am a little bit OCD when it comes to reading books in order so I'll hit Amazon and take a look at the first one in the series. Thanks so much for sharing the title!ReplyDelete
Laura, I am definitely a 'little OCD' about reading in order. Not sure the early books in this series will be easy to find in the US, but I think they are being republished soon - in e-book format.Delete
I absolutely love the Vera tv series and the actress who plays her. Now I'm going to have to find the books as I love how this book starts. It's so "Vera." Getting to meet the author sounds like a great bonus.ReplyDelete
Margot, I definitely got a chuckle out of the paragraphs I shared. I go to our local rec center and I've seen those 'aqua ladies'. LOLDelete
I love that quote! I've been wanting to read some Ann Cleeves for ages, but keep getting bogged down in review copies - must do better!ReplyDelete
I hear you about the review copies. I have virtually quit getting them - mostly anyway.Delete
Haven't read this author before. Sounds interesting. Here's the link to my intro/teaser for today — a rather gruesome opening, I fear: http://wp.me/p4DMf0-1t1ReplyDelete
Yes, Ann Cleeves is getting more and more 'known' I think. Thanks for sharing your link!Delete
I haven't heard of this series or the author. (Every once in a while I think I am beginning to be well-read, and then I come across someone new...again! *sigh* :p) When I hear 'Cleeves' I think "Anne of Cleves", 4th wife of Henry VIII.ReplyDelete
I've been binge-watching "Midsomer Murders" on Netflix, and at least I understand what all those PC/DC, DS, DI, and DCI abbreviations mean now! *lol*
I've followed the author on GoodReads, so I can start checking out her books!
I had forgotten about 'Anne of Cleves' - wonder if there is a story about that. Anyway, I love 'Midsomer Murders' too.Delete
I've read several of her Shetland series books and those I've really enjoyed but still haven't checked out these or the TV version. So much stuff to catch up on right? So far we are watching Sherlock - so good!ReplyDelete
Good to know that you've liked the Shetland books. I'll get around to them before long.Delete
I'd like to try this series; thanks for sharing Kay.ReplyDelete
Always happy to increase your TBR, Diane! LOLDelete
How fun that you were able to meet Anne Cleeves! I have the first few books in the Shetland series though sadly have not gotten to them yet. Hope you enjoy them and good luck getting past the not reading the series in order! It usually doesn't matter too much in mysteries but I always struggle with it!ReplyDelete
I'm not sure I'll ever really get over the compulsion to 'read in order'. It just becomes a problem when I want to begin a series that has more than 10 or 15 books. LOLDelete
This sounds really good.ReplyDelete
I thought the beginning was pretty humorous.Delete
A very visual opening, yes I would have to read on.ReplyDelete
Yes, the beginning really caught my interest. :-)Delete