Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 12)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opening paragraph comes from a book I purchased way back in May 2012 – yes it’s been sat on my kindle for over five years – who is this little known author? I hear you ask – It’s Ann Cleeves with her fourth Vera Stanhope book Silent Voices.


When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she’s uncovered a simple death from natural causes. Then Vera spots ligature marks around the victim’s throat – death is never that simple . . .

Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again, working with Sergeant Joe Ashworth to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands of the case, death has never made Vera feel so alive.

The duo investigates the victim’s past and discovers a shocking case, involving a young child. Probing the secretive community, they try to stop a killer in the present who can’t seem to let go of the past . . . Amazon

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Chapter One

Vera swam slowly. An elderly man with a bathing hat pulled like a fully stretched condom over his head went passed her. He wasn’t a strong swimmer, but he was faster than she was. She was the sloth of the swimming world. But still she was almost faint with the effort of moving, with pulling the bulk of her body through the water.
She hated the sensation of water on her face – one splash and she imagined she was drowning – so she did a slow breaststroke with her chin a couple of inches from the surface of the pool. Looking she suspected, like a giant turtle.
She managed to raise her head a little further to look at the clock on the wall. Nearly midday. Soon the fit and fabulous elderly would appear for aqua-aerobics. The women with painted toe-nails, floral bathing costumes and the smug realisation that they’d be the last generation to retire early in some comfort.

~ ~ ~

Well I know I’m going to enjoy this one and I have some sympathy with Vera not being overly fond of getting my face wet either…

What do you think? Would you keep reading?


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

24 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (September 12)

  1. I really like Anne Cleeves. I’ve read a few of Vera and of the Shetland series and enjoyed both. Haven’t read this on, though. As Margot says, I see Brenda Blethyn playing Vera in the TV series as I read. I didn’t take to her at first but I think she toned it down a bit in the second (it was a bit OTT!) and now I’m converted.


  2. Of course! It’s Ann Cleeves after all. I can identify with Vera’s ‘heft’. I’m a huge fan. My favorite is her Shetland series http://


  3. Oh, this is a good ‘un, Cleo. I do like the Vera Stanhope series, not just for the characters, but also for the setting and atmosphere. I hope you’ll enjoy this one. The mystery is well done, in my opinion.


  4. Haha – I can easily resist this one, since I already have two unread Ann Cleeves’ books on my Kindle! I’ve been meaning to read her for ages, since I love the TV Vera, but just never manage to fit her in. I blame you…


  5. I have been wanting to read this author, especially after watching the series called Shetland on Netflix, with stories based on some of her books.

    This one sounds very tempting…and I hate water on my face, too. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.


  6. Hi Cleo,

    I love the books and the television adaptation and I can fully sympathise with Vera in your extract.

    She tells it just like it is and very conversationally, which I like.

    Her assumptions about the midday silver haired brigade sits well with where I am at right now (working until I drop that is) and like Vera, I hate getting my face wet and have never been able to learn to swim. I give it to Vera that she is having a go though, you wouldn’t find me within staring distance of a swimming pool – and the idea of a cruise – on water ???

    A great share and thanks for the recommendation 🙂



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