2nd in the Shetland Quartet series
Pan Macmillan, Oct 2005
Reviewed by Sunnie Gill
WHITE NIGHTS is the second in Ann Cleevesí Shetland quartet. In her first,
RAVEN BLACK, we met Jimmy Perez, a detective sergeant born and raised in
the Shetland Isles. We followed Jimmy as he solved a murder and met Fran,
a divorcee with a daughter.
In WHITE NIGHTS Jimmy and Fran are on the brink of taking their friendship
one step further. It is mid-summer, that time of the year when the sun
never quite sets in the Shetlands. It can disturb sleep patterns and they
reckon it can send people a little bit mad.
Fran is having her first art exhibition with Bella. Bella is a local woman
with an international reputation, so Fran is thrilled to be sharing the
limelight with her. On the big night, the turnout is disappointingly small
and is also marred by the presence of a stranger: a man who stands in
front of one of Franís paintings, head in hands and begins to sob. Jimmy
steps in to try and help. He takes the stranger into the kitchen and
leaves briefly. When he returns the stranger is gone. He is found the next
morning, hanging in a fishing shed. The marks on his neck quickly
establish it wasnít suicide and Jimmy begins the investigation.
Reading Ann Cleeves is a little like being an addict. You very quickly
become hooked as Cleeves drip-feeds background information of her
characters in very measured doses. And you have to pay attention. Miss one
piece of this information and you might miss a vital clue.
The protagonist, Jimmy Perez is a quiet thoughtful man, familiar with the
Islands and the people. His boss D.I. Taylor, who flies in from Aberdeen
for major cases, is the opposite. He is unable to sit still and has a
bull-at-a-gate approach. They work well as a team and have developed a
solid working relationship. Itís a fine line Jimmy has to walk in his
investigations. He has to find out who committed the crime, yet he has to
live with these people.
The characters, the island and its culture are all beautifully described.
Iíve never visited the Shetlands but I feel as if I am there when reading
these books. I have loved both books in the Shetland series and my regret
is that Cleeves has stated she is only writing four. Each book represents
a season of the year. Weíve had Winter and Summer. I canít wait to read
the other two seasons.
WHITE NIGHTS is one of my WOW books for 2008. Do yourself a favour and get
hold of a copy. Iím sure it will be one of yours.
Cleeves' website at
http://www.anncleeves.com/ gives details of the third in the series
scheduled for publication early in 2009.
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