Wednesday, August 05, 2020
The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves
Rachael Lambert is counting birds for an environmental impact assessment. She'll be joined by Anne Preece, a botanist and Grace Fulwell who will count mammals as they determine whether a quarry will impact the wildlife and environment in a park in England. But, before Rachael's team even shows up, she finds the body of the neighbor, Bella Furness, hanging in the barn.
Rachael can't accept that her friend committed suicide, although Bella even left a note for Rachael. Despite Rachael's feelings, she knows she has a job to do, and a team to organize, although she doesn't really get along with either of the other women. Anne seems too strong and determined to go her own way. Grace's mind seems to be elsewhere, but her records indicate she's doing her job, finding a large number of otters in the area.
When a woman goes missing, and the police find her body, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope shows up to take over the case. She brushes aside Rachael's suggestion that Bella's suicide may be connected to the murder. But, as the police ask questions, and Vera listens to everyone's talk, it becomes clear that the quarry and the environmental impact assessment might be a link. And, the small group of people involved with the study, the quarry, and the local land sold for the project may hold the key to the answer.
If you haven't met Vera Stanhope, she's not what you would expect of a Detective Inspector. She's a force of nature, a shrewd, overblown woman who demands a lot of her team, especially her young sergeant Joe Ashworth. She drinks too much, sleeps too little, lives in her father's old crowded place near a railroad. But, she's quiet when she sneaks up to listen, and she does do that to overhear conversations. Vera gets so much information when people don't know she's listening.
There's so much to discuss in this meaty book, from the title to the people to Vera Stanhope and her own intriguing background. But, the details are all essential in this mystery. Ann Cleeves doesn't include unnecessary pieces in her puzzle. Every piece comes together perfectly, in a book with a surprising solution. But, the clues are there. A reader cleverer than I am might figure it out. But, I never saw the solution. I'm no match for Cleeves' writing or her detective.
Ann Cleeves' website is www.anncleeves.com
The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves. Minotaur Books, 2017. ISBN 9781250122742 (paperback), 535p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book