It's fiction and friction for Vera
This is the fifth novel featuring the formidable Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, portrayed by the brilliant Brenda Blethyn in ITV's drama series Vera.
Vera is friends with hippy neighbours Jack Devanney and Joanna Tobin.
When Joanna disappears and Jack is desperately worried, she feels obliged to help.
She tracks her down to The Writers' House, a country retreat on the Northumberland coast that offers courses for writers and aspiring authors.
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She has barely arrived when the body of tutor, Professor Tony Ferdinand, is discovered stabbed to death in The Glass Room, a first-floor conservatory.
Complications occur when Joanna is found in a corridor holding a knife.
As she investigates, Vera is pulled into the world of publishing with its aspiring writers, once-famous authors, cynical critics and academics. Then a second body is found, and everyone's a suspect.
This novel has all Ann Cleeves' trademarks – great timing, strong characters, lots of tension and plenty of red herrings to keep the reader hooked.
The setting of the murder in a isolated house with its mysterious guests also gives it a distinct and satisfying Agatha Christie-esque feel.
If you like the TV series, you're in for a treat – because the atmospheric but realistic books are even better.