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Good Literature for Children & Adults

New mystery novels by Ann Cleeves & A.D. Scott

All readers of mystery novels eagerly await new books by their favourite authors, and two of my favourites have new novels this fall – Ann Cleeves with The Moth Catcher and A. D. Scott with A Kind of Grief.

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Ann Cleeves has become one of Scotland’s most respected writers of mystery novels over the past ten years, with both her Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez novels now popular television series. Her novels capture the landscape and the culture of the present day in northeast England and Shetland.

The Moth Catcher features Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope at her curmudgeonly best. In the seemingly idyllic Northumberland countryside an elderly man on his way home from the local pub stops to admire the view – and finds the body of a young man in the hedgerow. When another body is found it is obvious to Vera and her team that there is a connection between the men but it is some time before it becomes clear. And what exactly does the catching of moths have to do with it all?

When yet another murder occurs the waters are again muddied. Into this mess is thrown a cluster of neigbours who have retired to the valley. All appear to be happily living the good life but there are well kept secrets that will only eventually be revealed by the tenacious Vera.

Ann Cleeves talked with an interviewer about her own mystery novels and those she is so often approached to read by publishers who want a “cover blurb” from her. Ann Cleeves found herself reading, with great concern, novels that were graphically violent, featuring brutal serial killers, psychopathic and misogynistic. Having worked for several years as a probation officer Ann Cleeves met many real-life murderers. She has purposely created characters and a series that she feels represents reality – and it is the method and the personalities involved that are the focus of her novels not the brutality of murder.

The inspiration for The Moth Catcher came after attending a party with people she dubbed as “The Retired Hedonists Club” as they partied, drank and had affairs.

A Kind of Grief by A.D. Scott takes place in the Scottish Highlands and features newspaper editor John McAllister and his wife Joanne Ross. Newly married and recently recovered from a near fatal injury Joanne Ross is taking time away from work at the newspaper. She is writing romance stories for magazines and trying to think of a big enough story to become a novel. When she hears about a woman tried as a witch in a nearby community Joanne thinks it may give her a theme.

Visiting the accused woman she discovers an independent, outspoken, intelligent artist and thinks she may have found a friend as well as a story. When death comes to this woman soon after Joanne’s visit she is both suspicious and feeling somewhat guilty about invading the privacy of the victim.

Fearing for the safety and security of his wife and home, McAllister is drawn into the search for answers and long held secrets are revealed. A Kind of Grief is the sixth in this excellent series set in the mid-20th century as changes comes to a country battered by the not so long ago Second World War.


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