‘Telling Tales’ by Ann Cleeves

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

When fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel is murdered, her own father’s girlfriend is jailed for the crime. Ten years later, evidence comes to light proving Jeanie Long’s innocence—which means Abigail’s killer is still on the loose. Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is sent to the village of Elvet to look at the original investigation and uncover the truth, but what she finds is a community that doesn’t want to rake up the past. As if that wasn’t enough, it looks like the killer has struck again.

This is the fourth book I’ve read by Ann Cleeves and the second in her ‘Vera’ series. The story unfolds gradually, allowing us to see a picture of the community and its characters. Along with Emma, the young mother whose discovery of the body all those years ago still traumatises her, we have her seafaring husband and his mysterious past, an ex-cop-turned blacksmith who took part in the original investigation and a troubled parole officer who couldn’t bear to visit his daughter in jail. Along with many others in the village, all have their own secrets and Ms Cleeves weaves them together expertly, taking us through the various suspects and their possible motives.

As always, the scenery is just as much a character as the people and the author’s use of language makes reading her work a sheer delight.

NB After reading this one I watched the ITV version of the drama. While Brenda Blethyn as Inspector Stanhope is always a treat to watch, the story is very different to the book and even manages to end up with an extra killer!

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  2 comments for “‘Telling Tales’ by Ann Cleeves

  1. 14/12/2021 at 5:04 PM

    This is certainly an intriguing review, Colin. I like the murder mysteries you read and review although I’m not a big reader of the genre.


    • 14/12/2021 at 7:51 PM

      Thanks Robbie – I lover her writing and always feel a bit sad to finish a book.


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