The Comprehensive Guide to Ann Cleeves’ Books in Chronological Order

Welcoming you to our deep-dive into the awe-inspiring world of award-winning author, Ann Cleeves’ literary works. From her first ever novel ‘A Bird in the Hand’ to her latest best-selling publication, we are going to be embarking on a comprehensive review of Cleeves’ books in chronological order, providing crucial details about her committed craft weaved in literature.

Chapter 1: The Beginning of an Era – ‘A Bird in the Hand’

Born in 1954, Ann Cleeves is an acclaimed British Crime author. In 1986, Cleeves’ literary journey started off with the riveting George and Molly Palmer-Jones series. The first book she penned down was ‘A Bird in the Hand’. This writer’s debut novel rarely stays unnoticed for its thrilling narrative and detailed plot that set the stage for Ann’s illustrious career.

Chapter 2: The George and Molly Palmer-Jones Series

In this series, we enjoy an older couple’s crime-solving adventures and Cleeves’ ability to blend crime with birdwatching. This featured a total of eight captivating books over a span of six years. Besides ‘A Bird in the Hand’, another must-read title is ‘A Rare Bird’ in 1987 with a significant twist distinguishing it from the standard blueprint of detective novels.

Chapter 3: The Remarkable Inspector Ramsay Series

After the successful run of her first series, Ann Cleeves launched Inspector Ramsay series. The first book in this series ‘A Lesson in Dying’ was published in 1990, introducing us to the contemplative detective. Cleeves penned six more stories to follow it. ‘Murder in My Backyard’ and ‘A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy’ are a few masterpieces in the series that showcase Ann’s rapid growth as a crime fiction writer.

Chapter 4: The Start of the Vera Stanhope Series

2006 marked the introduction of the Vera Stanhope series, starting with ‘The Crow Trap’. This brought Cleeves immense fame and recognition. Spanning over 9 books, the series became famous for its inspiring female detective portrayed as a competent and resilience detective who can solve complex crimes, despite her shabby appearance. The series also includes ‘Telling Tales’ and ‘Hidden Depths’.

Chapter 5: The Compelling Shetland Series

Next came the high-end Shetland series in 2006 that featured the clever detective Jimmy Perez. The inaugural book ‘Raven Black’ established a new literary setting in the Shetland Isles. The series comprises a total of eight novels, concluding with the book ‘Wild Fire’ in 2018.

Chapter 6: Latest Two Rivers Series

In 2019, Ann Cleeves began a brand-new era with the Two Rivers series, with Detective Matthew Venn as the lead character. The debut book ‘The Long Call’ has already seen remarkable success. The second book ‘The Heron’s Cry’, published in 2021, continues to thrill readers with its intriguing plots and authentic character development.


Ann Cleeves is indeed a stellar crime fiction writer, having mastered the realistic portrayal of compelling characters and composed intriguing, often murkily complex plots. Every series characterized by Cleeves’ signature style of delving into characters’ depth, tightly knit narratives and marked by a profound understanding of human nature and the criminal mind, that often leaves every reader on their seat’s edge.

Undoubtedly, looking at Ann Cleeves’ books in chronological order makes us realize her evolving craftsmanship in crime fiction writing. Whether it is George and Molly Palmer-Jones, Inspector Ramsay, Vera Stanhope, or Jimmy Perez, every character weaves its magic, captivating readers’ attention from start to end. Which is why every book by Ann Cleeves is worth adding to your detective genre collection.

This comprehensive guide to Ann Cleeves’ books in chronological order aims to help new readers and long-time fans alike appreciate the author’s complex and enthralling works throughout her career. And of course, providing you the best possible platform to enjoy this literary journey in the correct sequence.

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