This is the seventh book in Ann Cleeves’ delightful Shetland series featuring the dogged detecting skills of Jimmy Perez. I have been a fan of this series since the first book RAVEN BLACK appeared in 2007 and in some ways this book provides some closure from the first book. Magnus Tait, a lonely old man and a suspect in RAVEN BLACK is being buried in the first few pages. We learn that in the intervening years, he had developed some friendships and his last years were not as lonely. It is during his funeral that a landslide sweeps through the cemetery and a nearby croft and exposes the body of a well dressed lady. It is determined that she was murdered before the landslide so Jimmy Perez calls Chief Inspector Willow Reeves to head the investigation. This is a character that has appeared in the last few books and, up until this book, I never cared for her much. I found her irritating and also wrong a lot of the time but in this entry she seems more reasonable (but I don’t think she is a good match for Jimmy.) Jimmy is still grieving for his murdered girlfriend but he is at least open to the idea of a relationship. Well…he is…then he isn’t…then he is….you get the idea.
Sandy Wilson is another character that has been along since the first book . The once raw recruit has grown and is now a thoughtful contributor to the team. He is also in love and I wouldn’t be surprised if marriage is in his future.
In recent years this book series has been made into a television series – simply called SHETLAND. I have only just recently had a chance to see it and it is well worth watching just for the spectacular scenery. I love Douglas Henshall but I think he was miscast a Jimmy Perez. Jimmy had a shipwrecked Spaniard in his family tree and is always described as dark and Spanish looking.
I love these books because Cleeves does a wonderful job of describing life on the Islands. This book does a great job of describing the contradictions of privacy – the homes can be miles apart with vast expanses of land in between yet there is that small town element where everybody knows your business. Private but no privacy.
Good addition to a fabulous series.
*** After the third book this was called a trilogy – after the fourth book it was called a quartet – now it is just called a series. I mention this because in recent years I just fell in love will Peter May’s BLACK HOUSE TRILOGY….LOVED IT so I just want to remind Peter that there is no reason you have to stop a three just because you once called it a trilogy.***
COLD EARTH by Ann Cleeves 2016 Macmillon