The Long Call is a murder mystery set in North Devon and is the first book in The Two Rivers series by Ann Cleeves.
This book introduces the reader to Detective Inspector Matthew Venn. We meet him at his father’s funeral, although he only makes it to the churchyard; this is as far as he feels comfortable with after becoming an outcast from his family and their strict religious life.
The funeral is interrupted, for Matthew, by news of a body found at Crow Point, a place close to the house that Matthew now calls home. Murder is rare in this part of the country and it is an opportunity for Matthew and his team to put their skills to good use. They discover that victim Simon Walden volunteered at the Woodyard, a space for art and a centre for adults with learning disabilities. The Woodyard plays a major role in the story, and Matthew’s homelife connects to it through his husband’s work, making Matthew uncomfortable with how close he is to the situation.
I enjoyed the setting, having had a holiday in the area a few years ago. It helped to place pictures in my mind as the story evolved. I liked the methodical police work, and Venn’s approach to his job and the contrast with his home life made this a very readable book.
There is just enough detail to of the main secondary characters to keep the story interesting and one or two red herrings that kept me guessing right to the end. This is my first Ann Cleeves novel and I shall look out for more from this author, especially the next one in this series.
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In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.
Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.
The case calls Matthew back into the community he thought he had left behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.
An astonishing new novel told with compassion and searing insight, The Long Call will captivate fans of Vera and Shetland, as well as new readers.