My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Vera Stanhope is one of my favorite detectives both on TV and in Ann Cleeve's mysteries. This latest The Darkest Evening is my favorite of the novels so far!
The Darkest Evening differs from the others in the series because it reveals so much about Vera. Vera comes across an emergency situation and must interrupt a dinner party to seek help. This encounter occurs at the Stanhope family estate.
We know Hector was a difficult father - distant, mean, miserly, and belittling with strange habits. We know a little of how Hector lived and the small cottage that he had, where Vera lives now. But in The Darkest Evening we learn about Hector's family, his heritage, and how his family members regarded him. We learn Hector was a black sheep, the disappointing younger son who made scenes during family reunions and the awkwardness and discomfort Vera felt around her relatives.
But this time around Vera is the detective in charge of the investigation. As she seeks answers to the suspicious death, Vera uses her insights into the area and the people. This added complication for Vera gives this particular mystery an added dimension and it is a treat!