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Summary

Three very different women come together at isolated Baikie’s Cottage on the North Pennines to complete an environmental survey. 

Rachael, the team leader, is still reeling after a double betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Anne, a botanist, sees the survey as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace, a strange, uncommunicative young woman hiding plenty of her own secrets. 

Rachael is the first to arrive at the cottage, where she discovers the body of her friend, Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide - a verdict Rachael refuses to accept. 

When another death occurs, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope enters the picture....

©1999 Ann Cleeves (P)2018 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

took a while to get into.

i was not to keen on the narration and it got off to a slow start. When Vera entered in part 2 it picked up pace. as ever a great ending.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mrs
  • COWES, United Kingdom
  • 17-08-18

Excellent story as always from Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves is always brilliant at weaving together a plot and I didn’t guess the murderer.
As often happens the overall rating is let down by the reader. Although the voice of Vera was okay, the voices of all the other female characters sounded like five year olds. Fortunately, Ann Cleeves’ descriptions and dialogues gave me a sense of their true characters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • K Levan
  • Llanwrda, Carmarthenshire United Kingdom
  • 21-08-18

Irritating narrator

I can't help thinking that a better narrator might have made this story easier to follow or even believable.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spoils

Good storyline spooky by dreadful reading. Voices are all wrong: women too twee and weak and men with unbelievable accents and unconvincing voices.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring. Dreadful Narration.

The lead in to the main landscape of the story was far too long, and incredible tedious. The Narrator would be more suited to a childrens' book. I stuck with it, but it was a credit wasted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Awful

Usually a big fan of Ann Cleeves but this was irrirating piffle . Annoying voices and I kept losing my place and rewinding which I never do ! Waste of a credit .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom
  • 07-09-18

slow...slow

very slow start ,struggled to continue .detailed histories of characters got tedious but made sense when pulled together. clever puzzle and twist at the end .

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • raven
  • United Kingdom
  • 06-09-18

Disappointing

Apart from the irritating attempts by the narrator to introduce different voices for the various characters which fails dismally, the novel itself does not do Ann Cleeves any credit. I am a great Vera fan but in this story Vera is portrayed as a dim witted detective who leaves most of the detection to the supporting characters. I wondered if it was an early novel and maybe that was how Vera's character started out, later developing into the astute, unorthodox eccentric inspector who gets results, but no - it seems the book was published as recently as 2016. So all in all a great disappointment.