The Crow Trap

Vera Stanhope #1

Ann Cleeves

fiction crime mystery
mysterious reflective slow-paced

560 pages | first published 1999

Vera Stanhope's first appearance was in The Crow Trap, published in 1999 and now available in a new edition; it forms the third episode of the TV series Vera, adapted by Stephen Brady.

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...

What the community thinks

summary of 152 ratings (see reviews)


mysterious 100%
dark 54%
tense 45%
reflective 27%
adventurous 9%
challenging 9%
emotional 9%
funny 9%


slow 45%
medium 45%
fast 9%

Strong character development?

Yes: 60% | It's complicated: 30% | No: 10%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 50% | No: 30% | It's complicated: 20%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 62% | No: 25% | It's complicated: 12%

Flaws of characters a main focus?

Yes: 77% | It's complicated: 22%

Average rating