White Nights

"... grabs the attention and makes you want to read on."


This second novel of the Shetlands series features Fran Hunter, artist and single mother, and Detective Jimmy Perez. It continues Ann Cleeves' insightful and detailed evocation of life in a small, fairly rural and isolated community, where everyone either knows or is related to everyone else.

Shared history and an understanding of the mindset of the local residents helps Jimmy Perez to approach the investigation of the death of an English tourist at an exhibition of art in a very different way to that of his boss, Roy Taylor, who has been called in from Inverness to head the investigation team. Taylor is restless and impatient to solve the crime and move on. He is ambitious and finds it difficult to accept that perhaps the softly-softly approach works better.

When a local musician is also found murdered, feelings in the community begin to run high. The “white nights”, when darkness hardly touches the islands, also have an unsettling effect on the inhabitants.

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This is a book that grabs the attention and makes you want to read on. The characters are sympathetic and interesting; the colour of the local descriptions adds to the atmosphere; the people and the place relate to the reader and seem almost familiar. In the midst of this comes murder, and readers are led to consider their own reactions should this happen. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of small community life and the exploration of how the past interacts with the present. The tension between the local policeman and his ambitious mainland superior adds an additional frisson to the book, together with the developing relationship between Jimmy Perez and Fran.

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