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?