C is Letter Three



C could be for Celtic given the decoration above, but C is for Cleeves. Ann Cleeves writes mystery books. She’s got a few series on the go, but I’ve only read books that feature Vera Stanhope. Let me tell you how I encountered our hero, Vera.

Last year I was in a used bookshop (oh the shock, I know you think it out of character, I never visit used bookshops), and the owner recommended Cleeves as an excellent mystery writer. She made me a like it or trade it guarantee on the book. I thought hey, can’t lose with that offer. So I bought Hidden Depths. I really liked the detective, Vera Stanhope. The woman who ran the bookshop thought that I might. She was right. If you like your detectives thoughtful, quirky, and moody, this one is for you. This series is a UK police procedural, my favoured sort of mystery book. Since reading Hidden Depths I’ve kept an eye out for more Vera Stanhope, and have found a couple of others. They are quite good reads.

I like finding books through recommendations from slightly unexpected places. I’d not been in this particular bookshop for some time — it used to be a regular haunt of mine when I lived in North York. Now it is just a little bit too far out of the way for me to visit it very often. It is a small shop, tightly packed with good stuff. It has a good used bookshop vibe, not a junky used bookshop vibe. It isn’t too trendy or incense filled or hip or anything. It isn’t over messy or over neat. It is just right. I wish it were closer to my house, or on my way to somewhere else, but it isn’t. So sad.

Any mysteries you’d recommend to relative strangers?



Filed under fiction

5 responses to “C is Letter Three

  1. Agatha Christie is really my only experience of the mystery genre, and I read my first books of hers only this summer. Working at a bookstore, though, I collect recommendations. I bought my mom ‘The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie’ by Alan Bradley and she sped through it. Seeing as she’s a mystery buff, I’d say it’s a good sign. I’ve started recommending that when asked for a good mystery.

    • Oh yes, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie IS a good book. And the rest of the series too! Did you like Christie? I’m not sure she’s the person to start with when reading mysteries, though I started there as well.

  2. Thalia

    I read all (three) of the Christie books I’ve read while traveling Europe this summer. They were perfect travel reads, and they made me think again about whether I liked reading mysteries. I previously thought I didn’t, but now I think I might. I can’t say the writing or the plots were particularly inspiring, though. But they were a lot of fun. I’ve actually gotten into Arthur Conan Doyle recently and finding him a bit more to my taste. Any you would recommend to a budding mystery reader?

    • I’ve got A. Conan Doyle on my to be read pile still, so am not sure I can quite tune into the taste, but I shall try. Most mysteries are pretty standard brain candy sorts of reading; not all are particularly well-written. I tend to try authors/series and go with what I like. I think, given your propensity for poetry, that you might enjoy P.D. James and Dorothy L. Sayers. Start there and see what you think.

  3. Thalia

    (Also, one is pretty much a guaranteed to find an Agathie Christie or two prowling about on a hostel’s take-one-leave-one bookshelf, which is comforting when in a strange place.)

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