#WriteUp of Ann Cleeves – The Rising Tide – #InConversation panel @AnnCleeves #BloodyScotland #Vera #Shetland #MatthewVenn

The Rising Tide – James Grieve in conversation with Ann Cleeves

James Grieve is a forensic pathologist, usually working behind the scenes and assists Ann Cleeves. Her latest book is The Rising Tide.

It was a fascinating talk about her books and tv, especially about the forensics and the hour passed by very quickly.


This is the latest in the Vera Stanhope series. There’s secrets, friendships and reunions, and a death.

She talked fondly of Brenda Blethyn reading her books and truly respecting and embodying the character she created. She also talked about  Vera as a character and how she grew out of a certain era Ann Cleeves knows much about, with formidably spinsters, deciding not to marry, working and not being too fussy about appearance, when this wasn’t quite seen as any society norm yet, it was at a time when it was on the cusp of change.

Ann Cleeves talked about the book being based around reunions and was essentially her lockdown book, as she wrote then and thought about all the Zoom meetings and reunions that happened during this time, which seemed to give inspiration.


She actually began this talk by addressing the Shetland novels and saying there is a crime festival up there called Shetland Noir. She sees Shetland as a bit of a sanctuary, although has finished writing this series now. She brought some dark humour to her talk about birdwatchers. She talked more about starting her writing on an isolated island.


The Two Rivers series where the main character is Matthew Venn is set here. She talked about interesting tensions between existing residents, incomers and especially the second home-owners, something that has been talked and debated over for decades.

She talked of geographical places in general when she writes and thinks writers, when basing a series somewhere, needs to know a place really well, and these are the places she knows and is getting to know more of, it would seem. She talked about how this could be different for a short story, to know less about a place, she said about it being about something, perhaps, like that first hit when you enter a place for a first time, that sort of thing.


James Grieve was very interesting on this subject, since this is what he specialises in. He talked about taking samples from a body and giving it to a forensic scientist to examine and how certain practices  have changed, with more being done at the scene to minimise contamination of DNA.

He touched upon the “CSI Effect”, something I have heard forensic pathologists talk of before. In short, they talk about how CSI brought forensics to the fore of tv, but how the realities of actually working in this field are different, but sparked off inspiration for some people to work in this. So, he says the reality is different from books and tv, but for fiction, writers shouldn’t be too carried away with the minute details. It was fascinating when he said that you can’t actually accurately predict the exact time of death, just that it was between this and that time. This seemed to be something that Ann Cleeves was conscious of whilst writing her books.

Further Books

Ann Cleeves talked about alternating between her Vera and Matthew Venn books. There is another Matthew Venn book on its way.


A talk with Anne Cleeves and a Librarian. Interviewed by william1shaw @WilliamShaw #AnneCleeves @rosie_vietch #Vera #Shetland #librarians #Event #FreeEvent

I watched later on online an event hosted by William Shaw featuring renowned and popular author of Vera and Shetland – Anne Cleeves and a librarian from Cambridgeshire libraries. For Anne Cleeves fans, you may be delighted to know that she has new books for you to get your teeth into.

Anne Cleeves is working on the follow up to The Long Call (a Matthew Venn book). The Darkest Evening is the latest Vera book. She talks of Matthew Venn being gay, not to be political or anything and a gay couple whom she knows and how she is just had them on her mind at the time of creating this character.

Anne talks about growing up in North Devon and the strong community. It sounds a happy time, growing up there in her teens and talks of friendships and special times, so feels she can write about there. It’s always interesting to hear snippets like this.

Anne Cleeves and William Shaw talked about tv. It’s interesting to hear how close to the books Brenda Blethyn is to the books and how Anne Cleeves is invited on set, which I think sounds really nice.

Readers may find interesting that Anne Cleeves alternates between the series of books when writing and doesn’t plot so far in advance.

It’s talked about crime writing being in a golden age, especially for those who write prolifically. Reginald Hill (Dalziel and Pascoe series) is how Rosie Veitch started reading crime. I think that’s a good choice. He is a great writer and an author who really would appeal to any adult age group. It is also worth noting that authors such as Ian Rankin really rate him too. So, worth trying out, if you haven’t already.  It’s quite a big series, so enough to keep people going and always well-written.

Reginald Hill

Watch out for Anne Cleeves earwigging in your conversations, sounds like bits may end up in a book, so many writers get ideas from people and conversations and places round about them.

Rosie Vietch works in Cambridgeshire. Of course it is strange for her as we fight to keep libraries open (fight be the word) and librarians are now doing work online like virtual meetings, virtual coffee break (take it from me, library staff like their tea and coffee).
Rosie Vietch likes Anne Cleeves books and how every voice for each series is different. I’ve heard people say this before.

Rosie Veitch and William Shaw talked at the beginnng of their chat, about libraries and how libraries have lots of magazines, newspapers, audiobooks and e-books and catalogue searching to see what to choose. Although Rosie Veitch talks about extending things public libraries offer, don’t always expect it from community libraries for so many reasons, that I could go on about from experience working in both the public libraries (paid) and community libraries (unpaid), but it would take away from my piece here about the people within it, as Rosie also talks about lovely childhood books.

Rosie Vietch has gone back to reading Mallory Tower and The Chalet School. It seems in times of crisis, some people tend to go to a place they feel most comfortable with. I will say they are lovely books in my opinion and I remember reading them in my tweens and early teen years too.

Secrets-Book-11-Malory-Towers-by-Blyton-Enid-Book-The-Cheap-Fast-Free-Post                                                        The Coming of Age of the Chalet School by Brent-Dyer, Elinor M. Paperback Book

Coming up in next couple of days, if you were to tune in, is Adam Higgenbottom talking about a non-fiction book about Chernobyl. Rebecca Waite called Our Fathers’.

Click here for the link for the talk: The Whole Talk

You may also want to check out some books by William Shaw too. Here is just a few.