A serialized novel by Ann Cleeves exclusively for AARP Members
Second crime novels are difficult. The writer hopes to bring a fresh and exciting element to the narrative, but is keen not to confuse readers who are new to the series and the characters. If the first book has captured people’s imagination, there’s also a dread of disappointing. How terrible if the second falls short in some way!
So, I’m introducing The Heron’s Cry to you with some trepidation. This series feels like an ensemble work, and we meet up again with characters who first appeared in The Long Call. The focus is on Matthew Venn, but detectives Jen Rafferty and Ross May return to form the original team. I’m delighted that Lucy Braddick and her father appear again too, and of course Jonathan, Matthew’s husband is once more at the centre of the action. This is a happy marriage, but no relationship is perfect, and the couple are forced to deal with tensions as the investigation proceeds.
The trigger for this book was the image of a glassblower, skillfully producing a beautiful piece of glass. When glass is molten it’s pliable and easy to work; when it’s cold, it’s brittle and can snap. It seemed to me that some people are similar: apparently amiable and easy to please. Then circumstances change and suddenly, they crack. It’s no coincidence that The Heron’s Cry starts with a body in a glassmaker’s studio, and that the murder weapon is a shard of handblown glass.
Thank you for reading,
Serialization — releasing a book in sequential installments, often in magazines and newspapers — has been used to build suspense for hundreds of years. Every day over the course of several weeks, three new chapters of Ann Cleeves' The Heron's Cry were released here. Serialization took advantage of the book's natural chapter arcs — and helped build the mystery before unraveling it.
All of the chapters are available to read now. Click on the table of contents below to access them, or scroll down the page for a profile piece about the author and brief introductions of each chapter, with beautiful illustrations by Stan Fellows.
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