Raven Black Paperback – Jun 24 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Set in the remote Scottish Shetland Islands, Cleeves's taut, atmospheric thriller, the first in a new series, will keep readers guessing until the last page. Det. Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of teenage Catherine Ross, found strangled on a snowy hillside shortly after New Year's. While the police and citizens alike are quick to lay the blame on local eccentric Magnus Tait, who was not only the last person to see Catherine alive but also the prime suspect in the disappearance eight years earlier of another girl, Perez has his doubts. He's soon drawn into an intricate web of lies as he unearths the long-buried secrets of everyone from a roguish playboy to Catherine's only school friend. Cleeves, winner of the CWA's Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award (formerly the Gold Dagger), masterfully paints Perez as an empathetic hero and sprinkles the story with a lively cast of supporting characters who help bring the Shetlands alive. When the shocking identity of the murderer is revealed, readers will be as chilled as the harsh winds that batter the isolated islands.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
On the remote island of Shetland, teacher Fran Hunter is walking home when she spots a splash of red in the deep, white snowdrifts, with black ravens flying above. What a perfect picture it makes, she thinks. But on closer inspection, she finds that the "perfect picture" is the dead body of local teenager Catherine Ross, whose red scarf has been used to strangle her. Suspicion immediately falls on recluse Magnus Tait, who was accused--but never convicted--of kidnapping another girl eight years earlier. Policeman Jimmy Perez, assigned to the case, isn't convinced of Magnus' guilt. As he investigates, he uncovers a web of sinister secrets, strange superstitions, petty rivalries, thwarted love, and illicit affairs--the dark underbelly of Shetland's tight-knit community. Cleeves offers up a dark, brutal, suspenseful page-turner that will keep even seasoned mystery buffs guessing right up to the end. Emily Melton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Inspector Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate the murder of Catherine Ross, a teenager and a newcomer to Shetland.
Why do the long time residents of the island immediately suspect Magnus Tait. Yes, the body was found closest to his cottage and he has a well deserved reputation of being the oddest man in the area, but does that make him a murderer.
That's all I can tell you about this story without giving away too much of the plot and the clues to deciphering 'who done it'.
I loved author Ann Cleeves descriptions of the beauty of the area as well as the remoteness. Of students from even remoter islands having to board in town so they can attend high school. Of having to take a ferry or a plane to the mainland for special events. I couldn't help but be intrigued by the people of the town. How could Fran almost be afraid of Cassie's teacher Mrs. Henry. She was a neighbour after all, and since she was teaching primary students, how mean could she be. The Isbister family kept me fascinated with every mention. The father seems to be of mythical proportions and that the sun rises and sets on him, while his son in a ne'er do well who is living off his father's flawless reputation.
I will admit that I thought I had figured out who killed Catherine, several times in fact, but was wrong each time and had no clue when it was finally revealed. Excellent, I love a book that keeps me on my mental toes. I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series The Shetland Quartet.
What I did find interesting were the holiday celebrations unique to Scotland and/or the Shetland Islands. In midwinter there are the largest bonfires in Europe called Up Helly Aa which was worked into the plot. Also visiting neighbours on New Year's Eve called Hogmanay. When I was a child in a Nova Scotia town we went to homes hoping for candy on Haloween but always shouted 'Hogmanay' at the doors, and not 'Trick or Treat '. Never knew what it meant, but must have have been the Scottish influence.
This is the first book in the series set in the Shetland Islands. They have been made into a BBC TV series which I am hoping to watch.
If I have one reservation about this story, it is the number of main characters. The writer goes back and forth, chapter by chapter, into different points of view, and after a few chapters I found myself wondering: is this the daughter or the student? Is this the off-island detective or the local cop? It was a struggle to keep track.
Of course there was a twist at the end, which made my effort worthwhile.
Four stars reflects the effort of keeping track of perhaps too many characters. Some of them could have been left out. At almost 400 pages, it is a long novel.
Most recent customer reviews
Exciting and gives you a feel of the lifestyles in the Shetland. The remoteness. Left you speculating to the end of the book.Published 9 months ago by Brigitte Jakumeit
My first of Ann Cleeves but not my last. Thoroughly enjoyed the setting, characters and the surprise ending.Published 17 months ago by B. Harrison