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Harbour Stree: A Vera Stanhope Mystery    by Ann Cleeves Amazon.com order for
Harbour Stree
by Ann Cleeves
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

It's the holiday season in Newcastle. But Detective Joe Ashworth watches in dismay as his daughter Jessie discovers a dead woman's body on the Metro. Margaret Krukowski was a kind and caring woman who did what she could for those less fortunate than herself. Who would want her dead? And why?

DI Vera Stanhope is, in a way, delighted not to have to celebrate Christmas with her work mates. She'll be working full time to find the murderer. She feels a little guilty about her reaction; after all, a woman has been stabbed to death.

While investigating Krukowski's life, Vera discovers that she had a colored past and was not the virtuous woman she was believed to be. She lived in an attic room in a B & B, helping her landlady where she could. She may have been making up for her past. When another woman dies, Vera is sure the two deaths are connected.

Vera is a strong character; her crew walks carefully around her. She is heavy set and very conscious of her girth. She lives alone much to her chagrin. But her detecting skills are above reproach. She's clever and always ready to put herself in danger if an occasion arises. The two deaths worry her. Can she uncover the murderer before he or she strikes again?

Vera realizes that someone knows who is responsible for killing these two persons. But the neighborhood close to the sites of the murders closes ranks to protect its own. Vera feels that the past must be explored to expose the present.

Ann Cleeves, author of Harbour Street, is a Gold Dagger Award winning author. She writes the Shetland series as well as the Vera Stanhope books, both of which are available on Netflix and PBS. She has also won other prestigious awards. Good mystery.

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