I have finished the 99th book for the book challenge. It was Telling Tales: A Vera Stanhope Novel by Ann Cleeves.
Vera Stanhope travels to a Yorkshire village to reopen a closed murder case in this mystery. A young girl, Abigail Mantel, was murdered ten years ago and her father’s girlfriend, Jeanie Long, has been charged with the murder. She has been in prison for these ten years but refuses to admit her guilt. Now, after ten years have past, Jeanie Long commits suicide in prison. As she does so, a witness comes forward who exonerates Long and proves she could not have murdered Abigail. Vera and her team are sent to Elvet to look into the murder and see if they can find the real murderer.
Emma Bennet was the person who found Abigail Mantel dead in the ditch by the field. She was Abigail’s best friend. Abigail was sexually active while Emma was not. Emma is married to James Bennet, a pilot on the river, who changed his name after his father committed suicide following a run-in with Keith Mantel, Abigail’s father. He has not told Emma about his name change. Emma is taken with Dan Greenwood, an ex-policeman now a potter. Emma’s father Robert Winter is a probation officer who was seeing Jeanie Long at the prison. Her mother Mary is a librarian. Robert and Mary are very religious.
Emma’s brother Christopher comes back from university. he is rather agitated. He stays the night at Emma’s house and then goes out for the day. No one sees him during the day. That night the family goes to a party at Keith Mantel’s house. They hear a scream. Mary has discovered Christopher’s body in a ditch at the Mantel’s home. He is dead from a blow to the head. Now Vera has another mystery to solve.
Vera talks to Michael Long, Jeanie’s father. He gives some background on Keith Mantel and the pilots. He is grieving for not having visited Jeanie and not saying he would provide a place for her to live when she got released. He also knows the truth about James’s identity.
Vera has suspicions about Robert Winter and sends Joe Ashworth to York where the Winters used to live and work to check them out. Her suspicions are confirmed. She confronts the Winters with the allegations. The murderer is revealed but it is not who you think it is.
This was a great mystery story. There were all sorts of red-herrings that led you to think that perhaps this was the murderer, but no! Ann Cleeves leaves the reveal until the last minute. It is a brillant twist to discover the murderer. I enjoyed this tale.