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White Nights: The Shetland Series 2 Paperback – 8 September 2015
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- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1447274458
- ISBN-13 : 978-1447274452
- Product Dimensions : 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
- Publisher : Pan (8 September 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 48,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the Author
Ann Cleeves is the author behind ITV's Vera and BBC One's Shetland. She has written over twenty-five novels, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez - characters loved both on screen and in print. Her books have now sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Ann Cleeves worked as a probation officer, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she started writing. She now promotes reading as Harrogate Crime-Writing Festival's reader in residence, and is also a member of 'Murder Squad', working with other northern writers to promote crime fiction. In 2006 Ann was awarded the Duncan Lawrie Dagger (CWA Gold Dagger) for Best Crime Novel, for Raven Black, the first book in her Shetland series. Some of her other novels include the popular Vera Stanhope series, The Crow Trap, Telling Tales, Hidden Depths, Silent Voices, The Glass Room, Harbour Street and The Moth Catcher. In 2012 she was inducted into the CWA Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame. Ann lives in North Tyneside.
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Top reviews from Australia
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As with the first book, I am finding the culture and the way of life, the people and the places interesting reading.
Where this one differs from the first, is that almost anyone could have committed the murders, in the first it was always going to be down to one or two. Even Perez has a preferred, though not as likely, culprit. Having several suspects creates several possibilities, which, in turn, makes for a more enjoyable read.
There was enough in this book to keep my attention though what with the changes in the relationships from the story to the series to the different power brokers. Looking forward to number 3.
Top reviews from other countries
When the morning brings a call of a man hanging from a rafter in the communal fishing hut, Perez is guilt ridden that he could have done more to help the unidentified man. Evidently an Englishman who neither Bella or Fran claim knowledge of, the manic grin of a plastic clown mask that covers his face in death recalls the performer entertaining the incoming tourists from the cruise ships earlier in the day. Later confirmed as the same street performer who distributed flyers announcing the cancelling of the evenings exhibition due to death in the family, Perez and the locals wonder just who is he and why has he come. When confirmation is given that the man's death was not suicide, chillingly showing signs of a premeditation that is a rarity in violent crimes on Shetland. More bizarrely, just what is the intended significance of the sinister clown mask? The confirmation of murder brings DCI Roy Taylor, a Liverpudlian based in Inverness to Biddista. Still smarting from Inspector Jimmy Perez being credited with solving the first case they worked on together he is a little uneasy with Perez and the lack of urgency that seems to be a trademark of life in the area. Marked out by his distinctive colouring which seems to set him apart from the more easily identifiable Shetlanders, Inspector Jimmy Perez stands out like a island in the midst of choppy waters.
Jimmy Perez's unconventional attitude and acceptance of the way things function on the islands immediately makes locals infinitely more comfortable in his presence. Never appearing awkward or rushing to fill in the gaps in conversation, his equanimity makes him an excellent judge of character. Indeed he is the focal point for the investigation. Jimmy and Fran's burgeoning relationship gives readers a more rounded take on his personality and the early days of the romance have all the headiness of teenage sweethearts. Anxious-to-please Whalsay lad, Sandy Wilson hangs eagerly onto Perez's coat tails, but never quite seems to process the actual import of a violent murder in a peaceful community. It soon becomes clear that the victim might have been an outsider, but the answer to his death lies in the history in the Shetlands.
Cleeves is a captivating chronicler of the landscape and the locals, bringing a true appreciation for the remoteness, often bleak weather and the way in which every scrap of privacy is cherished. The investigation itself revolves around the handful of families that live in Biddista and artist, Bella is first to fall under the spotlight. Cleeves fleshes out her characters so well, weaving in resentments, past acrimony and intimate affairs and uncovering a host of hidden secrets, making for a captivating novel which swiftly becomes all consuming It fascinates me how Ann Cleeves makes the lives of the inhabitants in a isolated community so fascinating, particularly when their lives and occupations are so diametrically opposed to the life that most of us know and live. Four families that go back generations and are connected by everything from the broken hearted older brother of Kenny disappearing after a failed relationship with local sophisticate Bella Sinclair, to the petty grievances and sniping surrounding a broadside on a piece of amateur art. A second murder on the shape of Roddy Sinclair however brings new angles to the case and Perez knows that the answer lies in the history of the natives. Whilst the resolution and identification of the killer was a little unsatisfactory to my mind, with a slightly implausible motive detracting from the revelations, it will not dim my enthusiasm for this series. Cleeves provides plenty of subtle clues along the way making this an ideal novel to test eagle-eyed readers.
Review written by Rachel Hall (@hallrachel)
Once again Liverpudlian DCI Roy Taylor has arrived from Inverness to take over the case, but he and Jimmy Perez have grudging respect for each other, allowing Jimmy to quietly talk to Kenny, who found the body, and others who might have seen something that evening. Jimmy’s budding relationship with Fran Hunter is at the early stages so the fact that the murder is linked to the art exhibition Fran has shared with flamboyant artist, Bella Sinclair, worries him.
There are wonderful descriptions of the changing light on the countryside, of the myriad of birds and about the gathering of the sheep for shearing. Very gradually we come to know more about Bella’s past and her affection for her nephew Roddy, a talented musician. Relationships between the other residents of Biddista are examined both by Perez and the reader, while amusing comments are made about the nosy observations of author, Peter Wilding, looking out of his window as he sits writing his latest novel.
The plot darkens as new discoveries are made in a clifftop chasm and Jimmy has to face his vertigo. In a care home, Willy, an old sailor, may hold the key to the mystery but he is lost in the realms of Alzheimer so the links with the outside world must be followed by Taylor and Perez. Another engaging read about passions and greed.
"White Nights" is perhaps not as good as the first Shetland book, "Raven Black" which was much darker [in many ways!] and it was that darkness that made it such a good read. But don't get me wrong I enjoyed "White Nights" but for different reasons although the denouement was weak and that's why it's only four stars.
Like its predecessor the treeless Shetland landscape and its rugged coastline are as much a character of the book as Perez, Fran, and Taylor. Parts of the story are told through the eyes of Taylor, an outsider, and it's his reaction to the strange desolate landscape, the everlasting days and the hostility he experiences from the tight-knit community of inbred-insiders with their ingrained suspicions of outsiders and their webs of closely guarded secrets that only one of their own can untangle that makes this book work (and there's an interesting sidebar in Taylor's response to his second exposure to Shetland).
So recommended, but do read "Raven Black" first; next up for me is book three, "Red Bones", and it's going to be springtime in Shetland and that must mean more murder.
PS. Once again a warning for devotees of the TV series, this Perez is not Douglas Henshall, although this time there are less descriptions of the Fair Islander's Mediterranean appearance.
Although not my favourite read this year, I will continue with the Shetland books. Cleeves is an excellent writer and perhaps my expectations were a little too high after Raven Black!
Having read and watched all the Vera Stanhope series makes Anne Cleeves one of my favourite authors. Long may she go on making my hours of reading very enjoyable and exciting.