I know I am among a host of readers who lamented the end of Ann Cleeves’ series of mysteries set in the Shetland Islands. But there is hope for the future! I recently finished her first book in a series set in North Devon. The book enters interesting territory with a married gay detective in a small community, the remnants of a conservative Christian sect, and all the usual challenges of a police force trying to make its way in our difficult and complex world. As in her other novels, she beautifully merges the mystery and detection with the personal lives of the characters. We get to know Detective Matthew Venn pretty well by the end of the book, and we’re happy to make his acquaintance!
As I did with the Shetland mysteries, I find myself checking maps as much as anything. The part of North Devon where she sets this – in and around Barnstaple – is beautiful and interesting. Like many parts of England, there are rivers and the perpetual sea, offering lots of places to discover bodies and hide secrets!
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, and I highly recommend The Long Call. (N.B.: I’ve only watch Vera on television, so at some point I’ll get to read Ann Cleeves’ Vera series!)