Inspector Vera Stanhope is played to perfection in the TV series by the wonderful Brenda Blethyn and thus I was interested in reading this book when offered on the kindle daily deal. Vera is not like other detectives who tend to have affairs and problem home lives. By her own admission she is large and shambolic with bare legs and blotchy skin and never wears makeup. There is a comical, even touching scene when Vera interiews the main suspect in the murder of social worker Jenny Lister, and there is a stirring of lust within her...."He smiled again and sat on the floor facing them. The movement was fluid, very graceful, and it came to Vera, unbidden, that he'd be very good at sex. The physical stuff. Was that part of his attraction? She felt a moment of panic, of the old regret that time was slipping past. Then something close to lust."
The story however is somewhat stilted and apart from this wonderful portrayal we are reduced to chapter upon chapter of police procedural as the team gathers together suspects in an attempt to find not only the murder of Jenny Lister but teenager Danny. DI Stanhope is helped in her investigation by Sergeant Joe Asquith a colleague she is jealous of with his settled home life and trendy "Ikea" furniture.
I believe this story would have been more attractive if greater attention had been paid to the unravelling of the main characters and their flaws together with a better use of the setting...the beautiful rugged Northumbrian coast.