Hidden Depths – Northumberland and Newcastle – Ann Cleeves

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Set in the North East of England, this is a lovely guide to the region as it features quite a few known and lesser known landmarks and takes us right up the coast and even to Northumberland with a dabbling in the academic world with Newcastle University and Morpeth library mentioned.

What’s it all about?

The discovery of a young man’s body in a bathtub  is something that starts a nightmare for Vera. This is a highly stylized murder and is very strange indeed. His mum Julie discovers him –

Julie stared at him, submerged beneath the bath water, his hair rising like fronds of seaweed towards the surface. She couldn’t see his body because of the flowers.

When a second body is discovered in a similar way in a rock pool at the coast,Vera is keen to find a link between the two murders. Not to mention to explore the group of friends who have discovered the second body. There’s something not quite right about them..

So what does Vera do? Gets straight on the case and starts to investigate taking herself all around the region in the meantime. So -let’s take the Ann Cleeves/Vera tour…

The region really is well drawn and evoked here and is particularly enhanced by Ann’s obvious love and care of the Northumberland coast line. Certainly the acerbic wit of her character Vera is a good accompaniment on any booktrail……as Vera might say 

“Come on pet, get a move on. We haven’t got all day you know.”

Hope you like Fish and chips as the book takes your around the region where the best ones are found –

The Vera tour of Hidden Depths - Geordie accent optional ;)
The Vera tour of Hidden Depths – Geordie accent optional 😉

NORTH SHIELDS

North Shields where Peter Calvert has a flat –

His flat wasn’t far away, in North Shields, an attic overlooking Northumberland Park. Two elderly sister lived in the rest of the house.

And where Tom Sharp has his ‘accident’ – aah the fish quay – (some of THE best fish and chips here – get some covered in salt and vinegar, sit beside the giant buoys on the pier and enjoy. Mind the sea gulls though – they’ll have their eye on you when eating)

The Fish Quay at North Shields where Tom Sharp had the accident? There’s that sheltered bit of the water where the boats tie up. That’s busy until the early hours. Bars, restaurants, people living in those smart and apartments they’ve put up.

SEATON SLUICE (Seaton in the novel)

Where some of the characters live and much of the action centres around this village.

An ex-pit village on the coast.

It would be a good place to live. Not too far from the coast when the wind tuned east and the migrants came in. Not too far from the coast when the wind turned east and the migrants came in.Not to far from the tower for sea watching.

The rock pools at the coast – where  poor Lily is found stylised in a similar style murder –

……the watch tower, which stood on the seaward side of the lighthouse. Once it had been a coastguard  lookout. Now birdwatchers used it to look for seabirds.

And then they find something in the rock pools –

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Whitely Bay –

The cemetery and the high school get a  mention. There is a decent butcher’s in nearby Monkseaton and this is so close to Seaton Sluice and St Mary’s Light house that is a good place to soak up the coastal atmosphere and get  a sense of location by sitting on a park bench in view of the sea and sampling a local portion of fish and chips (helps get into the spirit of the locale hehe)

St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitely Bay/Seaton Sluice
St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitely Bay/Seaton Sluice

NORTHUMBERLAND – then its a little way up the coast to see where the little local library is –

Morpeth

Where Samuel  works in the library and who Vera talks to regarding the investigation –

“I was working on friday afternoon in the library in Morpeth.”

NEWCASTLE

The Sage, Gateshead
The Sage, Gateshead

Finally don’t forget to visit Newcastle (Vera’s stomping ground  – often referred to as ‘the big city’. Peter works at the university there and Gary Wright works at the Sage –

I’ve been doing quite a lot of work at the Sage music centre, Gateshead and now they’ve offered me a permanent job.

We get a sort of guided tour thanks to Julie –

'The Blinking Eye' Bridge aka The Millennium Bridge
‘The Blinking Eye’ Bridge aka The Millennium Bridge

On an impulse, she walked across the new Millennium footbridge from Gateshead to Newcastle, she‘d never done that before either. She stood in the centre and looked up at the arcs and towers of the other bridges, the Tyne, the High Level, the Redheugh, landmarks seen in a completely different light.

You’ll see Newcastle and Northumberland in a different light after reading Hidden Depths as it shows some of the lovely costal areas of the region. See it all through Vera’s eyes…….

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Aye Pet,  I see everything me. Don’t miss a thing.

Hope you’ve enjoyed me tour. Leave Joe a tip won’t ye? He appreciates that kinda thing.

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