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The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves - Review

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

I got this from the library in May. I had read the first chapter in a sneak preview in the back of The Long Call back in February and was intrigued, so I reserved the book at the library. I haven't read many of the Vera books, but I love the TV series so was keen to get stuck into this.

So, a couple of weeks before Christmas, Vera is driving home in the snow, when she takes a wrong turning. She's pretty sure the lights she can see are a village called Kirkhill, where there's a pub with rooms, so she reckons she'll take her chances there. However, she finds a car abandoned in the snow - with the door left wide open. She leaves her card, and then realises there's a baby in a car seat in the back. She takes the baby and heads towards the lights. When she gets closer, she realises they're not the lights of the village but are the lights of a big house called Brockburn. It's somewhere Vera knows well - it's where her father Hector grew up. His brother inherited the house and the money, and when she was younger Vera can remember visiting Crispin, his wife Harriet, and their daughter Juliet. Crispin is now dead, like Hector, and Juliet is married to Mark. They're having a dinner party when Vera turns up with the baby. 

She makes herself comfortable in the kitchen, but then there's a knock on the door. It's one of the estate's tenant farmers, and he's found a body in the snow. Vera and her team must then solve the murder, while dealing with Vera's estranged members of family, who are hiding something - but is it to do with the murder, or not.

I really liked the beginning of the book, but there was a bit in the middle that I felt was slow. But then the end picked up, and the very end was very atmospheric and almost gothic. I liked the book, I'm giving it four out of five. 

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