Telling Tales — Ann Cleeves (Vera Stanhope Book 2)

3 min readSep 28, 2023

Ann Cleeves’ iconic detective, Vera Stanhope, returns in “Telling Tales,” the second installment in the Vera Stanhope series. With her signature blend of intricate plotting, vivid landscapes, and unforgettable characters, Cleeves once again proves herself to be a master of the mystery genre. Let’s dive into the enigmatic world of “Telling Tales.”

The Enduring Allure of Northumberland

As in her previous work, Cleeves uses the Northumberland landscape to great effect in “Telling Tales.” The rugged beauty of the region, with its sweeping vistas and brooding moors, becomes an integral part of the story. The setting is more than just a backdrop; it’s a character in its own right, casting its spell over the events that unfold.

Northumberland’s rich history and distinct culture are brought to life in “Telling Tales,” adding depth and authenticity to the narrative. Readers are once again transported to this atmospheric locale, making them feel like they are part of the story.

Vera Stanhope — A Detective Unlike Any Other

In “Telling Tales,” we once again encounter Vera Stanhope, a detective who defies convention and challenges stereotypes. Vera’s unapologetic bluntness, disheveled appearance, and dogged determination make her a refreshingly unique protagonist. Her unpretentious nature and ability to see through the façades of those around her make her an exceptional detective.

Cleeves continues to develop Vera’s character in this installment, delving deeper into her personal life and providing readers with a more intimate glimpse into her world. Vera’s complexity and authenticity are central to the series’ appeal, making her a character readers can’t help but admire and root for.

A Multifaceted Mystery Unfolds

“Telling Tales” revolves around the discovery of a body in a remote cottage. The victim’s identity and the circumstances surrounding their death remain shrouded in mystery. As Vera Stanhope and her team dig deeper into the case, they uncover a web of secrets and lies that stretch back years.

Cleeves’ storytelling prowess is on full display as she skillfully weaves together multiple narrative threads. The characters are well-drawn and believable, each with their own motives and vulnerabilities. The intricate plot keeps readers guessing, and just when they think they have it all figured out, a clever twist sends them back to the drawing board.

Exploring Themes of Family and Betrayal

At its heart, “Telling Tales” is a story about family, secrets, and the consequences of betrayal. The novel delves into the complexities of familial relationships, exploring how past actions can come back to haunt the present. The characters are all connected in ways that become increasingly apparent as the investigation unfolds, adding depth to the narrative.

Cleeves’ exploration of these themes adds an emotional resonance to the story, making it not only a compelling mystery but also a thought-provoking examination of human nature.


For fans of mystery fiction and those who have already fallen in love with Vera Stanhope, “Telling Tales” is a must-read. Ann Cleeves’ ability to craft intricate mysteries and populate them with authentic, multifaceted characters is a testament to her skill as a writer.

To embark on this thrilling journey, be sure to get your copy of “Telling Tales.” Whether you’re a seasoned Vera Stanhope enthusiast or a newcomer to the series, this book promises an engaging and immersive experience. With its richly detailed Northumberland setting and the indomitable Vera Stanhope at its center, “Telling Tales” is a compelling addition to the world of crime fiction.




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