Thursday, 15 December 2011

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

It isn't easy being a single mother to a young child.  Fran Hunter strove to do all the right things while raising her daughter Cassie on the isolated Shetland Island.  Returning home from walking her to school after the Christmas Holidays, Fran spotted something unusual in a snow covered field.  Why was there a splash a red in all that whiteness. 

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.

The Shetland Quartet:
Raven Black
White Nights
Red Bones
Blue Lightning

Map of Scottland showing the location where the events depicted in Raven Black occurred.

To learn more about the Up Helly Aa Festival, check this website.

Author Ann Cleeves sponsored a  short film contest for the young people of Shetland to show the world what Shetland is like.  Following is one of those films.  Imagination, by Roseanne Watts.  It is the modern re-telling of a Shetland folktale.


Dorte H said...

I am glad you also enjoyed this book. The Shetland Quartet is one of my favourite series because of the appealing setting. I would love to go there with my husband to see the islands for myself.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

A well known speaker at our local library I keep meaning to read her books but never seem to get around to it so thanks for the nudge.

TheBookGirl said...

I'm impressed that the book kept you guessing about the identity of the murderer right up to the end!

Anonymous said...

I like the sound of this - thanks for sharing your review, I'll be looking for it!

Shelleyrae @ Book'd OUt