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by Ann Cleeves
Pan Books, October 2001
560 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 033038998X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ann Cleeves, best-known for her Inspector Ramsay novels and her series featuring George and Molly Palmer-Jones, breaks new ground in The Crow Trap, a stand-alone novel of psychological suspense.

Three women gather at a cottage on England's North Pennines to complete an environmental study. A fourth woman, however, arrives before them, a woman who is a friend of the team leader's, a woman who, before the other three women arrive, seems to have killed herself. Rachel, the team leader who finds her friend's body, has trouble believing that Bella Furness would commit suicide, but others are too ready to believe it's true, especially given the stress the dead woman had been under caring for an invalid husband.

The environmental study continues at Baikie's Cottage until there's another death and this time Inspector Vera Stanhope, who also knew Bella, arrives to investigate. It soon becomes apparent that the temporary residents of the cottage each has her own secrets, which may or may not have something to do with the most recent death . . . and possibly with Bella's apparent suicide.

Cleeves is an amazingly good storyteller and gives the reader a real sense of being there, with three-dimensional characters and vivid descriptions of the landscape of the North Pennines. The Crow Trap is told from multiple points-of-view, which Cleeves handles so effectively that the level of suspense ratchets higher with every page. This book is a must-read for fans of Minette Walters and Barbara Vine.

Reviewed by Susan Anderson, November 2002

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