Reading the Ann Cleeves books in order is a great way to get into her novels. The suspenseful and atmospheric thrillers are perfect for a cold winter night when you want to curl up with a good book. Cleeves is most well-known for her Shetland Island and Vera Stanhope series.
However, there are many other Ann Cleeves books which you may or may not have heard of. Below is a list of all the books written by Cleeves so far!
About Ann Cleeves
Before we discuss the Ann Cleeves books in order, let’s get to know more about the author. Cleeves is a British author most well-known for her crime fiction work. She was born in England in 1954 and grew up in England’s countryside.
Her ability to keep her readers intrigued and interested to learn more is what makes her so unique. Her writing abilities have been proven repeatedly since her first book, A Bird in the Hand, which was published in 1986.
Cleeves met her husband at a bird observatory on Fair Isle where she was cooking at the time. After their marriage, they became the only residents of a small island nature reserve in the Dee Estuary: Hilbre. With little interest in birds and in near isolation, Cleeves began writing.
She has since written 32 novels which have sold more than five million copies.
Ann Cleeves Books in Order
Vera Stanhope Books
The Vera Stanhope series by Ann Cleeves is a set of detective novels following the life and cases of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope. Stanhope has made it her mission to deal with some of the most difficult crimes in Northumberland.
The title marked with an asterisk below is a short story that was published in collaboration with Forum Books of Corbridge.
- The Crow Trap (1999)
- Telling Tales (2005)
- Hidden Depths (2007)
- Silent Voices (2010)
- The Glass Room (2012)
- Harbour Street (2014)
- The Moth Catcher (2015)
- The Seagull (2017)
- Frozen (2020) (Short Story) *
- The Darkest Evening (2020)
- The Rising Tide (2022)
This series takes place in Norfolk, England. The first novel in this series was Ann Cleeves’s debut and marks the beginning of her career as an author.
George and Molly Palmer-Jones are an elderly couple who spend most of their time traveling around the English countryside bird watching. However, in the first book their quiet and peaceful trip becomes a mystery as criminal activity increases around the Norfolk coast.
- A Bird in the Hand (1986)
- Come Death And High Water (1988)
- Murder In Paradise (1988)
- A Prey To Murder (1989)
- Another Man’s Poison (1992)
- Sea Fever (1993)
- The Mill On The Shore (1994)
- High Island Blues (1996)
Inspector Ramsay Books in Order
The Inspector Ramsay series takes place in the English county of Northumberland. The series begins when Inspector Ramsay is investigating the murder of the village’s headmaster: Harold Medburn. Suddenly, the village seems unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
- A Lesson In Dying (1990)
- Murder In My Backyard (1991)
- A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy (1992)
- Killjoy (1993)
- The Healers (1995)
- The Baby Snatcher (1997)
Shetland Island Books in Order
The story takes place in the remote Scottish Shetland Isles. Detective Perez and his colleagues are involved in investigations that lead to them becoming entwined with the island community. They are investigating mysterious happenings, murders, and the secrets of Scotland’s most northern community.
- Raven Black (2006)
- White Nights (2008)
- Red Bones (2009)
- Blue Lightning (2010)
- Dead Water (2013)
- Thin Air (2014)
- Too Good To Be True (2016) (Novella)
- Cold Earth (2016)
- Wild Fire (2018)
Shetland Island Non-Fiction Books
This book is an illustrated companion to the popular series of novels. It takes readers through a year on Shetland, learning about its past, meeting its people, celebrating its festivals, and seeing how the flora and fauna of the islands changes with the seasons.
- Ann Cleeves’ Shetland (2015)
Two Rivers Books in Order
In her latest series, Ann Cleeves introduces readers to Detective Matthew Venn.
Venn thought he left the evangelical community of his childhood behind for good, but he finds himself back home to attend his father’s funeral in the first book: The Long Call. The account of Venn’s stay, extended when a case requires him to investigate a dead body that washed ashore on a nearby beach, makes for a powerful series debut.
Ann Cleeves Books in Order – Standalone Novels
Ann Cleeves Books in Order – Short Stories
- Dreaming of Rain and Peter Lovesey (2016)
Anne Cleeves Books in Order – Anthologies
- The Library Book (2012)
- The Starlings & Other Stories (2015)
- Crime Writers: A Decade of Crime (2016)
- Bloody Scotland (2019)
- Many Deadly Returns (2021)
Is There an Ann Cleeves TV Show?
There are multiple TV adaptations of Ann Cleeves’s books.
The first is Vera, which is an adaptation of her Vera Stanhope series. This adaptation has been incredibly successful since beginning in 2011. There are 12 seasons so far, with the filming of a thirteenth season underway during the summer of 2023.
Brenda Blethyn stars as the leading lady, Vera Stanhope, and was awarded the Rose d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. Also starring in the series is Jon Morrison as Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as Mark Edwards, and many more throughout the years.
Another popular book series of hers, the Shetland Island books, also has a popular TV show adaptation: Shetland. It began in 2013 and was renewed for its eighth season in February 2023.
However, the renewal came with the reminder that the popular role of Jimmy Perez, played by Douglas Henshall, will be leaving. In his stead, Ashley Jensen will play lead detective Ruth Calder. The show also stars Alison O’Donnell as Alison McIntosh, Steven Robertson as Sandy Wilson, Lewis Howden as Billy McCabe, and more.
Finally, the first book of her Two Rivers series, The Long Call, also has a mini-series TV adaptation. The show, with the same title as the book, had four episodes air in 2021. There are currently no plans to adapt the second book in the series.
The Long Call stars Ben Aldridge as Matthew Venn, Declan Bennett as Jonathan Roberts, Siobhán Cullen as Caroline Reasley, Juliet Stevenson as Dorothy Venn, and more.
Summary Of Ann Cleeves Books In Order
If you want to read the Ann Cleeves books in order, here is a brief overview of the Vera Stanhope series for your reading pleasure. You’ll not want to miss out on this riveting series, so make sure you pick up these books.
1. The Crow Trap
At the isolated Baikie’s Cottage on the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning of betrayal.
For team leader Rachael Lambert the project is the perfect opportunity to rebuild her confidence after a double-betrayal by her lover and boss: Peter Kemp. Botanist Anne Preece, on the other hand, sees it as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace Fulwell, a strange, uncommunicative young woman with plenty of her own secrets to hide.
When Rachael arrives at the cottage, however, she is horrified to discover the body of her friend Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide – a verdict Rachael finds impossible to accept.
Only when the next death occurs does a fourth woman enter the picture – the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, who must piece together the truth from these women’s tangled lives
2. Telling Tales
It has been ten years since Jeanie Long was charged with the murder of fifteen-year-old Abigail Mantel. Now residents of the East Yorkshire village of Elvet are disturbed to hear of new evidence proving Jeanie’s innocence. Abigail’s killer is still at large.
For one young woman, Emma Bennett, the revelation brings back haunting memories of her vibrant best friend. As well as that fearful winter’s day when she had discovered her body lying cold in a ditch.
As Inspector Vera Stanhope makes fresh enquiries on the peninsula and villagers relive a time they hoped to forget, and tensions begin to mount. But are people afraid of the killer or of their own guilty pasts?
With each person’s story revisited, the Inspector begins to suspect that some deadly secrets are threatening to unfurl.
3. Hidden Depths
It’s a hot summer along the Northumberland coast. Julie Armstrong returns home from a night out only to discover her son dead. Luke was strangled and placed in a bath of water before being covered with wildflowers. Inspector Vera Stanhope was intrigued by this stylized murder scene.
Then a second body, that of Lily Marshis, a beautiful young teacher, turns up in a rock pool strewn with flowers. Vera has to quickly find the dramatist and killer who is creating art from death.
Although the clues come slowly from those who knew Luke and Lily before, Vera quickly finds herself drawn to the curious group who found Lily’s body. What binds these four men and the one woman? Are they the trustworthy, close-knit unit they claim they are?
Sinister secrets slowly emerge as local residents must share their private lives. But the killer is still there, waiting to prepare another beautiful, watery tomb.
4. Silent Voices
Vera Stanhope, DI, discovers the body of a woman in her local gym’s sauna room. She wonders briefly if it is a simple, natural death. However, there are ligature marks around the victim’s throat – death is never that simple.
Vera gathers her team and asks them to interview staff and those connected to the victim. Meanwhile, Sergeant Joe Ashworth works with Vera to determine the motive.
Joe is trying to balance his family life and the job demands, while Vera enjoys being back in control of the investigation. It has been a long time since she felt so alive.
And when Vera discovers that the victim worked in social services and was involved in a shocking case involving a young boy, it becomes obvious that they are connected. But things are not always as they seem.
5. The Glass Room
DI Vera Stanhope doesn’t make friends easily. However, her hippy neighbors keep her well-supplied with homebrew and conversation so that she is more open to them than others.
When one of them goes missing, she feels obligated to find out what happened. But her search leads her to more than just a missing friend.
It’s an easy job to track the young woman down to the Writers’ House, a country retreat where aspiring authors gather to workshop and work through their novels. It gets complicated when a body is discovered and Vera’s neighbour is found with a knife in her hand.
Calling in the team, Vera knows that she should hand the case over to someone else, because she’s too close to the main suspect.
But the investigation is too tempting and she’s never been one to follow the rules. Working with Sergeant Joe Ashworth, she starts the hunt for a murderer who is artistic as well as deadly.
There seems to be no motive. As well as no meaning to the crime. Then another body turns up, and Vera suspects that someone is playing games with her.
Somewhere there is a killer who has taken murder off the page and is making it real.
6. Harbour Street
As the snow falls thickly on Newcastle, the shouts and laughter of Christmas revellers break the muffled silence. Detective Joe Ashworth and his daughter Jessie are swept along in the jostling crowd onto the Metro.
But when the train is stopped due to the bad weather, and the other passengers fade into the swirling snow, Jessie notices that an old lady hasn’t left the train: Margaret Krukowski has been fatally stabbed as she sat on the crowded train.
Furthermore, nobody, including the policeman himself, sees the stabbing take place. Margaret’s murderer is seemingly invisible; her killing motiveless. Why would anyone want to harm this reserved, elegant lady?
Arriving at the scene, DI Vera Stanhope is relieved to have an excuse to escape the holiday festivities. As she stands on the silent, snow-covered station platform, Vera feels a familiar buzz of anticipation, sensing that this will be a complex and unusual case. Soon Vera and Joe are on their way to the south Northumberland town of Mardle, where Margaret lived, to begin their inquiry.
Then, just days later, a second woman is murdered. Vera knows that to find the key to this new killing she needs to understand what was troubling Margaret so deeply before her death – before another life is lost. She can feel in her bones that there’s a link.
Retracing Margaret’s final steps, Vera finds herself searching deep into the hidden past of this seemingly innocent neighbourhood, led by clues that keep revolving around one street. Why are the residents of Harbour Street so reluctant to speak?
7. The Moth Catcher
Life seems perfect in Valley Farm, a quiet community in Northumberland. Then a shocking discovery shatters the silence.
The owners of a big country house have employed a house-sitter, a young ecologist named Patrick, to look after the place while they’re away. But Patrick turns up dead by the side of the lane into the valley – a beautiful, lonely place to die.
DI Vera Stanhope arrives on the scene with her detectives Holly and Joe. When they look round the attic of the big house – where Patrick has a flat – she finds the body of a second man. All the two victims have in common is a fascination with moths and catching these beautiful, rare creatures.
The three couples who live in the Valley Farm development have secrets too: Annie and Sam’s daughter is due to be released from prison any day; Nigel watches, silently, every day, from his window. As Vera is drawn into the claustrophobic world of this increasingly strange community, she realizes that there may be deadly secrets trapped here.
8. The Seagull
A visit to her local prison brings DI Vera Stanhope face to face with an old enemy: Former detective superintendent, and now inmate, John Brace. Brace was convicted of corruption and involvement in the death of a gamekeeper – and Vera played a part in his downfall.
Brace promises Vera information about the disappearance of Robbie Marshall, a notorious wheeler-dealer, if she will look out for his daughter and grandchildren. He tells her that Marshall is dead, his body is buried close to St Mary’s Island in Whitley Bay. However, when a search team investigates, officers find not one skeleton, but two.
This cold case case takes Vera back in time, and very close to home. Brace and Marshall, along with a mysterious stranger known only as “the Prof,” were close friends of Hector, her father. Together, they were “the Gang of Four,” and Hector had been one of the last people to see Marshall alive. Vera must confront her prejudices and unwanted memories to dig out the truth, as the past begins to collide dangerously with the present.
For once, Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope is managing to have a good day off. While strolling around town, she ducks into a new bookshop in a renovated chapel. But just as she does, a skeleton is found in the old baptismal font. Soon, a decade old mystery is revived, and Vera must uncover secrets long buried before this case once again goes cold.
9. The Darkest Evening
Driving home during a swirling blizzard, Vera Stanhope’s only thought is to get there quickly.
But with the snow driving down heavily, she becomes disorientated and loses her way. Ploughing on, she sees a car slewed off the road ahead of her. With the driver’s door open, Vera assumes the driver has sought shelter, but when she inspects the car she is shocked to find a young toddler strapped in the back seat.
Afraid they will freeze, Vera takes the child and drives on, arriving at Brockburn, a run-down stately home she immediately recognizes as the house her father Hector grew up in.
Inside Brockburn a party is in full swing, with music and laughter to herald the coming Christmas. But outside in the snow, a young woman lies dead and Vera knows immediately she has a new case. Could this be the child’s mother, and if it is, what happened to her?
Final Thoughts On Ann Cleeves books In order
If you’re a fan of British writer Ann Cleeves, chances are pretty good that you’re already familiar with her most famous works. However, for those who need help figuring out which book to read next, we’ve put together this handy list of all Ann Cleeves books in order for your convenience.