The Crow Trap — Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope Book 1)

3 min readSep 28, 2023

Ann Cleeves, a renowned author in the world of mystery fiction, introduced us to the complex and endearing detective, Vera Stanhope, in her debut novel, “The Crow Trap.” As the first book in the Vera Stanhope series, “The Crow Trap” takes readers on a thrilling journey through the intricate layers of a murder investigation, all set against the backdrop of a captivating Northumberland landscape.

A Deceptively Serene Setting

Cleeves has a remarkable talent for weaving the setting into the very fabric of her stories, and “The Crow Trap” is no exception. The novel unfolds in the picturesque countryside of Northumberland, where the serene landscapes often hide dark secrets. As the story’s central mystery unravels, readers are treated to vivid descriptions of the rolling hills, ancient stone walls, and the ever-present cawing of crows.

Vera Stanhope — An Unconventional Detective

In Vera Stanhope, Cleeves has created a detective like no other. In “The Crow Trap,” Vera is at once eccentric and brilliant, with her disheveled appearance and intuitive investigative style. As the leading investigator in a case that starts as a seemingly straightforward suicide but soon takes a sinister turn, Vera’s tenacity and unique approach to solving crimes come to the forefront.

One of the most compelling aspects of Vera Stanhope is her authenticity. She’s not your typical polished detective but a real and relatable character with her own vulnerabilities and quirks. It’s this relatability that draws readers into her world and keeps them coming back for more in subsequent books in the series.

The Enigmatic Cast of Characters

“The Crow Trap” introduces readers to a diverse cast of characters, all of whom are connected to the investigation in some way. The novel’s structure allows readers to delve deep into the minds of these characters, exploring their histories, motivations, and secrets. It’s a testament to Cleeves’ storytelling prowess that each character feels like a fully fleshed-out individual with their own complexities and flaws.

As the layers of the mystery are peeled away, readers will find themselves engrossed in the intricacies of the characters’ lives, creating a sense of empathy and connection that makes the story all the more engaging.

A Multifaceted Mystery

“The Crow Trap” is a testament to Ann Cleeves’ skill in crafting complex, multi-layered mysteries. What starts as a seemingly straightforward case quickly evolves into something much more intricate. The novel keeps readers guessing until the very end, with unexpected twists and turns that defy easy prediction.

Throughout the investigation, Cleeves masterfully juggles multiple narrative threads, interweaving them to create a compelling and cohesive storyline. It’s this ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats that has made her a beloved figure in the world of crime fiction.


For fans of mystery fiction and those looking for a captivating series to dive into, “The Crow Trap” by Ann Cleeves is a must-read. With its evocative setting, unforgettable characters, and a mystery that will keep you guessing, it’s the perfect introduction to the world of Vera Stanhope.

To embark on this thrilling journey, be sure to get your copy of “The Crow Trap.” Whether you’re a seasoned fan of Vera Stanhope or new to the series, this book is a compelling start to a literary adventure you won’t want to miss. Happy reading!




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