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The Heron's Cry: The Two Rivers #2    by Ann Cleeves order for
Heron's Cry
by Ann Cleeves
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Heron's Cry is the second (following The Long Call) in Ann Cleeve's series starring DI Matthew Venn in North Devon. I've long enjoyed Cleeves' Vera Stanhope and Shetland series, so dived into this one with enthusiasm. Matthew is 'a man of principle, still haunted ... by a strict evangelical childhood.' He's gay and married to Jonathan who manages a community arts centre in Barnstaple.

This episode opens on a party, at which Dr Nigel Yeo (who worked for a healthcare watchdog organization) told DS Jen Rafferty (who reports to Matthew) he wanted to talk to her, but it could wait. The next day, Jen is called to the scene of Yeo's murder, at an artists' commune owned by reclusive economist Frank Ley. There's a grand house, a cottage and craft workshops in its grounds. The victim's glass blower daughter Eve found her father stabbed with a shard from one of her vases.

Another death follows, with the same MO. Complicating the investigation for Matthew is the fact that Jonathan is a good friend of Eve's and concerned for her welfare. Matthew is also anxious about a planned Sunday lunch with his mother, who has not met Jonathan yet. He and Jen learn that Yeo was investigating a local suicide of a young man being treated for acute depression.

Slowly and surely, they follow leads through a rather convoluted investigation, with yet another death before it's all over - and a surprising conclusion.

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