The Moth Catcher by Ann Cleeves

My next read to tick off one of my TV Detectives in my ‘TV Detective Challenge’ was ‘The Moth Catcher’; this was my chance to go on an adventure with Vera Stanhope.

This is one of the books that I have seen as a TV adaptation but I could not really remember the story, which meant that reading it I was discovering the story for the first time. It was great to be amongst the characters that we have learnt to love from the ITV TV adaptations and see how they differ from the book to the screen, as they always do just a little.

I enjoyed reading this as a piece of crime fiction. It is well constructed, with clever storylines that appear not to be linked at all, until they are. There is, also, throughout the book some great misdirection – sending your thoughts, just as they do to Vera and her team, in the wrong direction before you are brought back on track. I have to admit that I was a little surprised when the conclusion appeared to be reached so suddenly; however, I think that may have been down to my own tiredness when I was reading it, rather than a fault with the story or writing itself.

I think I am still Team Shetland a little more than Team Vera – although, let’s be honest, I enjoy them both in their own ways. They both have great, yet flawed, detectives at their centre, in beautiful parts of the world. I will certainly be giving more of the books a go when I need a bit of a crime fix – but will I be more likely to be in Shetland or Northumberland?

Red Bones by Ann Cleeves

My next book in my ‘TV Detective Challenge’ was a trip to Shetland with Jimmy Perez. (Shetland has been a bit of a theme in 2021 – and I really hope I make it there one day.)

I really enjoyed this cosy piece of crime fiction. A tradtionalt piece of slow-burn crime fiction as we follow Detective Jimmy Perez investigate the death of an elderly lady in a small community, just after the discovery of human remains at an archaelogical dig. Is there a connestion between the two – are the red bones not as old as they seem? Or are they connected to a feud between two local families – are there secrets that need to remain hidden?

This is a beautifully constructed narrative. Where the landscape is as much part of the story as the characters that Ann Cleeves has created. This is the sort of book that should be read on a cosy evening.

This was my first introduction to the writing of Ann Cleeves and the character of Perez on the page. I will definitely be returning to read more, especially as I need to read about Vera too.

Thursday Thoughts – My TV Detectives Challenge

I am a huge fan of TV detectives – Morse, Poirot and Dalziel and Pascoe, to name but a few, are programmes I can watch over and over again. Yet I have realised, after a read of a Dalgleish novel, that I have not necessarily read the books where those figures started.

So, I have made a decision (which will add to my tbr pile, no doubt) that I am going to try to read about thse detectives in the books where they began in my own ‘ TV Detective Challenge’. I will not be giving myself any kind of time limit or pressure to do this; I will just be giving myself the opportunity to discover some new authors and some new books. I am also hoping that I will be able to find some of these books in the local charity bookshop (I walked past the other day and there was a boxset of detective novels).

So, let us see if I can correct something that jars for a bookworm and find these detectives on the pages where they belong, and not just on TV.