Vera Stanhope Books in Order, Your Reading Guide to Ann Cleeves’ Crime Novels

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The Vera Stanhope series is a series of crime novels set in Northumberland written by author Ann Cleeves.

Reading the Vera Stanhope Series in Order

Following is the Complete order of the Vera Stanhope books.

The Crow Trap (1999)
Telling Tales (2005)
Hidden Depths (2007)
Hector’s Other Woman (2011, prequel short story)
The Habit of Silence (2011, short story)
Silent Voices (2011)
The Glass Room (2012)
Drop Dead Gorgeous (2012, short story)
Harbour Street (2014)
The Starlings (2015, short story)
The Moth Catcher (2015)
The Seagull (2017)
Frozen (2020, short story)
The Darkest Evening (2020)
The Rising Tide (2022)

Who is Vera Stanhope?

Vera Stanhope is clearly not a Gentleman detective. She is a detective inspector set in Northumberland.

As described in the first book, Vera “was a large woman – big bones, amply covered, a bulbous nose, man-sized feet. Her legs were bare and she wore leather sandals. Her square toes were covered in mud. Her face was blotched and pitted […]. Over her clothes she wore a transparent plastic mac and she stood there, the rain dripping from it onto the floor, grey hair sleeked dark to her forehead, like a middle-aged tripper caught in a sudden storm on Blackpool prom.”

Vera Stanhope is an overweight middle-age woman, overweight, a loner obsessed with her job who doesn’t quite like when she comes across someone not doing their job properly.

More about the Vera Stanhope series

Does the Vera Stanhope series need to be read in order?

Each book in the Vera Stanhope series can be read independently, as it tells a stand-alone story, but the lives of the various characters evolve from one to the next.

How many books are there in the Vera Stanhope series?

Vera Stanhope made her debut in 1999 in the book The Crow Trap. The crime series now consists of 10 novels and several short stories.

Where can I find Vera Stanhope’s short stories?

There is no anthology book reunited all of Vera Stanhope’s short stories, but you can find all those short stories in different books:

– “Hector’s Other Woman”, first published in Guilty Conscience (2011) before being re-published in Offshore (2014). It has also been published as a Kindle Single under the title “The Woman on the Island“. This is a story about a young Vera.
– “The Habit of Silence”, published in Best Eaten Cold and Other Stories (2011)
– “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, in The Express (2012)
– “The Starlings”, published in The Starlings and Other Stories (2015)
– “Frozen”, short tale produced in partnership with Forum Books of Corbridge available as a Kindle Single (2020)

Has the Vera Stanhope book series ended?

The Vera Stanhope series is still ongoing, with the last book The Rising Tide, released in September 2022.

Is there an adaptation of the Vera Stanhope books series?

Yes! Vera has been adapted for television with Brenda Blethyn playing the main role. The show debuted in May 2011 on the British channel ITV and is still ongoing.

To date, eleven series have been aired, with a twelfth series announced and scheduled to air in 2023.

Brenda Blethyn as Vera in the ITV series

About the author of Vera Stanhope series

Who is Ann Cleeves?

Born in 1954, Ann Cleeves is a British mystery crime writer, most known for the Vera Stanhope series and the Shetland Island series.

She studied English at the University of Sussex but dropped out. She then took up various jobs including cook at the Fair Isle bird observatory, auxiliary coastguard, probation officer, library outreach worker and child care officer.

She met her husband while working at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory. Not long after being married, they moved to a tiny island nature reserve in the Dee estuary where her husband was appointed as warden.

As they were the only residents and there was nothing to do on the island if you weren’t into birds, Ann started writing. Her first book A Bird in the Hand was published in 1986 and featured the elderly naturalist, George Palmer-Jones. It was also the first book in a series of crime novels.

She has published more than 30 novels and short stories and has been published in many countries. She has recently been awarded an honorary D.Litt. from Newcastle University for services to reading and libraries

What has Ann Cleeves written beyond the Vera Stanhope series?

If you like the Vera Stanhope books, you could be interested in reading Ann Cleeves’s other series. She first published the Palmer-Jones series, featuring the elderly birdwatcher George Palmer-Jones.

In the 90s, she wrote a six-murder-mystery series featuring Inspector Stephen Ramsay. Like Vera Stanhope, Inspector Ramsay is based in Northumberland.

She is also known for the Shetland Island series, starring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, and her new book series, Two Rivers, set in North Devon