The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves [9/10]

Master of the mystery novel, of the marriage of sneaky plot and deep characterization and evocative locales, in 2019 Ann Cleeves departed from the Shetland Islands of her wonderful Shetland series (see my review of Season 5 of the associated streaming series), and the Northumbria of her much loved Vera series (see my review of the latest instalment), to launch a new series set in North Devon. Number 1, The Long Call, was a fine read. Now “The Heron’s Cry” brings us back into the world of DI Matthew Venn, a dedicated, systematic homicide detective; fiery Jen Rafferty; and bulldog Ross Pritchard. When a doctor is discovered murdered in a rural artists’ colony, a shard of his daughter’s glass creations the grisly weapon, Venn and crew embark on a baffling, increasingly frustrating (another body!) investigation swirling around the British mental health system. The Devon countryside and bleak coastline are wonderful brought to life, as are the many characters. The plot is a classic, twisting and unpredictable. Number 2 in the series eclipses Number 1 by a long way, and I commend The Heron’s Cry as a superlative, one-sitting crime fiction read.

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