‘Raven Black’ by Ann Cleeves

Raven Black
Raven Black
5 stars copy

The beginning of a new year brings death to Shetland when the body of a young woman is found lying in the snow. But the murder also sparks memories of another girl who disappeared years before, and the focus of the community falls, once again, on simple-minded loner Magnus Tait. The police meanwhile, have their own difficulties and with officers from the mainland vying with the local force, detective Jimmy Perez struggles to find a solution to the murder. And then another body turns up…

Ann Cleeves perfectly captures the sense of place in this intelligent and absorbing thriller. Her characters come alive as the action moves from one islander to another, revealing motives, suspicions and long-held grudges. The story cleverly avoids the usual detective-centred plot and instead gets under the skin of the island, its inhabitants and its weather. This is as perfect a mystery as you’ll find anywhere, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up committing a few crimes of my own to get my hands on the other books in the series.

Raven Black is Ann Cleeves’ first book in the Shetland series, which has been filmed as ‘Shetland’, a major BBC1 drama starring Douglas Henshall.

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