You may remember from my last blog that I was going to hear Ann Cleeves speak about her novels, and indeed her new tv series Vera to begin on ITV shortly. Well, there were 50+ of us all eager to hear her, and she was excellent. I’m very glad that I had read some of The Crow Trap to get an idea of her style. I found it very involving, and to my surprise I am keen to read on. I’m not usually a great reader of modern crime, but her books seem quite approachable, as indeed she is in person. She read a little from Hidden Depths, which sounded good, even if a drowned son would not be my first choice of subject matter.
She also gave us many insights into her process of writing. That she starts a book with a scene, as dramatic as possible (like the Swedish writer of Wallander) and doesn’t actually know what will happen next, even who the murderer is, and works it out as she goes along like the reader must. She wanted to create a woman detective who was middle aged and not attractive or superhuman, and Vera Stanhope is easily the most realistic I have ever heard about. Ann likes to write about the Shetland islands, and I have bought the first of her quartet set there. She revealed that she is set to write more in this series, and would like the divine David (Tennant) to play the hero.
My neighbour did not agree! Raven Black was eventually agreed to be the first in the series.
The tv series appears to have come about because the Producer Elaine Collins found a copy of The Crow Trap in an Oxfam shop. We gained many insights about the production from novel to screen, and I was impressed when she told us that many local actors and crew were locally recruited. So the answer is when it comes on tv in the Spring, watch and be impressed!
My new prized possession is a signed first edition of the new book, due to be officially launched next week.
Silent Voices is the new Vera Stanhope novel. So the plan is now finish The Crow Trap, the two intervening novels, and then this. Son One also bought me the new Val McDermid paperback Trick of the Dark.
Not sure what I’ll make of it, but apparently she is also local and therefore may make an appearance at something like the Hexham Book Festival. This book is about an Oxford college, so we will see…