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A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: former detective superintendent and now inmate John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper - and Vera played a key part in his downfall.
Now Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer who disappeared in the mid-'90s, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, and that his body is buried close to St Mary's Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton but two.
This cold case takes Vera back in time and very close to home, as Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as the Prof, were close friends of Hector, her father. Together they were the Gang of Four, regulars at a glamorous nightclub called The Seagull. Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. As the past begins to collide dangerously with the present, Vera confronts her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth....
The Seagull is a searing new audiobook by Sunday Times best-selling author Ann Cleeves about corruption deep in the heart of a community and fragile, and fracturing, family relationships.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Kathi on 11-26-17
This might be the best Vera Stanhope book so far!
I loved this book! I have been a fan of Ann Cleeves’ writing for years, and always look forward to a new Vera Stanhope novel. There were many things about this book that made me especially like it, but perhaps the best part was that this involved more of Vera’s own history, with some of the main characters being people who were once known to Vera or her father in different ways.
In this story, she is called to a prison by a former superintendent, now behind bars for his own conviction, who wants to give her some information about a crime that took place many years ago in return for help with his daughter. She has her suspicions about his motives, but begins to look into it, and discovers murder that must be investigated. This book is very well balanced—with intrigue, but also a story that calls up even Vera’s empathy, as she looks into the circumstances of the daughter’s life.
Vera is a very compelling character. Cleeves has always made her seem fascinating, with the Vera who has her own personal life struggles, opposed to Vera as the strong woman who heads up a police team that solves murders. One can feel the tension between her personal sense of insecurity versus her professional instinct and judgment, and the combination is just word perfect as Cleeves draws a portrait of a very complicated, but competent woman.
I also want to say that I think Janine Birkett is a really good narrator. She has a fine range of voices (better for women than men) and I especially love the voice she uses for Vera herself. Others may disagree about this—but while I certainly recognize Vera Stanhope as created by Ann Cleeves in the tv series about her, I think you can’t really grasp the finer nuances of her personality—and certainly almost nothing about her backstory—unless you read or listen to these novels. Highly recommend!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
By Valerie on 09-29-17
Major mystery mistake - good character development
I love her main characters and they all seem to have grown quite a bit since the last book I listened to. But - the solution to the first two murders does not fit the facts, and the reason for the third murder seems a bit far-fetched to me, but then most of the reasons given for murders do, so that may just be me. The atmosphere of the book was a lot more colorful than usual. I'm glad I read it, but the violation of the timeline disappointed me.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful