The Crow Trap

The Crow Trap

Paperback - 2010
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Betrayal can be deadly . . .The Crow Trap is the first book in Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series - which is now a major ITV detective drama starring Brenda Blethyn, VERA. Three very different women come together at isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, to complete an environmental survey. Three women who each know the meaning of betrayal . . . 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, a fourth woman enters the picture - the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope . . . Also available in the Vera Stanhope series are Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices and The Glass Room. Ann Cleeves' Shetland series (BBC television drama SHETLAND) contains five titles, of which Dead Water is the most recent.
Publisher: London, England : Pan Books, 2010, c1999.
ISBN: 9780330518703
Characteristics: 551 pages ;,20 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 16, 2018

Warning, if you like the character of Inspector Vera Stanhope (not her work as a Detective, her as a person) you won't like what I have to say about her. I have read several Vera Stanhope "mysteries"/crimes being solved and I really love the stories of the crimes and how they are solved. But I first have to tell myself to not pay attention to the ugly (inside), self centered, "nobody is right" but her. And if you are educated, without a doubt you are a true idiot... that's the attitude of Insp. Stanhope. But the stories and the solving of the crimes are great! Ironically, I have read several of the Stanhope books, but never read the #1 in the series until I read this one. I thought it was really good! All the characters in it were very interesting and I went back and forth trying to figure out "who done it?" Some commenters thought this was a little slow in parts....and looking back it might have been, but it was still very good and I kind of figured out who the killer MIGHT have been (didn't actually, totally figure it out) but the motive blew me away! I have not seen the TV series. I have it on hold at the library and I'm looking forward to watching these books come to life so to speak. Inspector Stanhope IS a really very good Detective. But as I said, in my opinion, she is a nasty, mean person who thinks she is smarter and better than EVERYBODY else. But I don't read the books because of her as a person. I like them because of the crimes and the way she and her team solve them.

Jul 04, 2017

Being introduced to Vera Stanhope in her first mystery was a delight. Vera’s not your normal police detective. She’s fat, she’s sloppy, she’s actually the kind of person I’d like to invite over for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to hear more about her. Despite first impressions, she solves her cases, even convoluted cases like the one in The Crow’s Trap. Vera needs to have her own BBC tv series, she’s that original.

Jan 16, 2017

This is the first of the Vera Stanhope series. Vera is an older woman who manipulates her detective forces and others involved in the mystery, in much the same way as Gladys Mitchell's Mrs. Bradley. The complex story unfolds from the viewpoints of three women who are conducting an environmental survey which will determine whether an old mine will be re-opened. We see each woman's story from their own viewpoint, and this reveals each woman's opinion of the other characters, thus giving more depth to all three of the women. Rachael, the young woman in charge of the project, arrives at the cottage, where the three women will be living, to find that her friend, Bella, from the next farm, has hanged herself in the shed next to the cottage. As Rachael tries to make sense of this event, she brings in her mother, Edie, a teacher and school counselor. As they investigate, more deaths occur, which brings Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope into the picture. It takes considerable casting of nets into the sea of seemingly unconnected people and events to bring a solution and stop the killings. Cleeves is not a teller of happy stories, but her stories pull the reader in and involve them in solving the crime. I was not surprised at the identity of the murderer, but Vera had to tell us all what the motive was. I was completely surprised by it.

Dec 13, 2016

(The first book in the Vera Stanhope series) Unfortunately Vera is only a secondary character in this mystery. Thankfully Ms. Cleeves went on to develop the series. I love the characterization of Vera by Brenda Blethyn and do not see Vera as quite as unattractive as described in the mysteries. I was a little disappointed in this volume because of the low profile of Vera herself, but I highly recommend the series - film and books. Kristi & Abby Tabby

BostonPL_JordanD Nov 07, 2016

After watching the first two seasons of the British TV show, Vera, I picked up this book, thinking they would be pretty much the same thing. They're not. They're actually very different. Which is both good and not so good. I was hoping they would be similar because I've come to love the series and I like the way we're with Vera and her Sargent Joe Ashworth (my favorite characters) through the whole mystery. On the other hand, I think it's a bit unique perhaps (?) to have a book that's mostly told from other people's perspectives and only in the last quarter, do we get the Inspector's POV. My point being, it was interesting the way it was told, but I wanted more Vera and Joe!

That said, this book was a fantastic read, if a bit slow. Still, I couldn't put it down. And when Vera did finally show up, I was cheering because I recognized her as Vera, her description gave her away, and because I knew she was one of the good guys while the other characters could only wonder about her until she came clean.

Anyway, this murder mystery kept me guessing all the way through, trying to pin it on one person and then another, and then another, never guessing correctly. This will surely have you on your toes until the end.

And no worries if you've already watched the episode based on this book, I don't think one will ruin the other for you. At least, it didn't for me.

Oct 16, 2016

I agree with the Tugboat Annie description. Brenda Blethyn of the Vera tv series has created a much more likable emotionally available character.

Gave up on books; will stick with tv show.

loblollyrosa Feb 15, 2016

This is the only copy in the library system. Handle this book (paperback) with care: damaged spine with loose pages taped back on. A replacement or extra copies needed here.

Dec 25, 2015

PBS mystery Vera based on this series

Jun 22, 2014

I'm a big fan of the Vera TV series, and so was curious to read the source books. This has given me a whole new respect for the talents of BBC's screen writers and whoever else is involved in creating the TV show. Vera's character has been made much more sympathetic, intelligent, and complex. The book makes her sound like Tugboat Annie, smoking till her teeth turn brown. Not a pretty image.
However, the book does give us an unprecedented focus on the "secondary' characters, which works like a charm. Now, It is fun to watch the series and know some of the references to Vera's history.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at my library

To Top