This book was really very charming – it was atmospheric, interesting and makes you wish you could hop on a plane to Northeast England.
It’s the eighth book in the Vera Stanhope series, but can be read as a standalone. My further thoughts on this are a little farther down.
The novel follows Vera Stanhope, a Chief Detective in Northeast England, and her team as they begin investigating two seemingly random murders: a young student who was housesitting in a large, idyllic country home and a boring, “grey” man. The bodies were not found together, but the older gentleman was found inside the young man’s apartment, meaning they are linked somehow. But the team can only find their shared obsession with moths. What the heck happened in this small, isolated town? And do the odd-seeming dwellers of a small nearby development – each hiding secrets of their own – have anything to do with it?
I thought the central mystery was well done. I did not figure I out and I doubt anyone really could, seeing as how the author really keeps information leaking out little by little. You really feel like you’re just learning the facts as the team does.
So why the four stars?
Well, one thing that really bothered me throughout the novel was the author’s insistence on reminding the reader at every turn that Vera is “fat.” Like every time she appeared. It got awkward. Like, we get it, she’s a larger lady, but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad person or anything. It just seemed like that was the main characterization of her – and that she can be pushy – and that bothered me. Perhaps the earlier novels show more development with her and that’s why this novel didn’t really focus on it, so for that reason, maybe people want to read an earlier novel first – though you don’t have to to “get” the rest of this novel.
Overall, I liked it, with that one little hitch. If read others in the series.