10 August 2008


Macmillan, 2008, 392 pages, ISBN 978-0-230-01445-9

Shetland detective Jimmy Perez accompanies his friend Fran Hunter to an art exhibition when she and another local Bella are displaying their paintings. A tourist disrupts proceedings by collapsing to his knees and bursting into tears in front of one of Bella's paintings. The tourist appears to have amnesia and is carrying no identification. He gives Jimmy the slip but on the next day he is discovered dead, hanging from the rafters of shed near the Biddista jetty.

Once he has confirmed that this is murder then Jimmy has no alternative but to contact the police on the mainland, and then wait for their arrival. The dead man must have had some reason for coming to Lerwick but what is it? No one admits to recognising him.

This is #2 in Ann Cleeves promised Shetland "quartet". #1, RAVEN BLACK, won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in 2006. Where RAVEN BLACK was set in mid winter, WHITE NIGHTS is set in mid summer. Again the murder mystery is a variant on the "locked room" scenario, taking place on Shetland where incomers are so noticeable, and memories are long.

I don't think WHITE NIGHTS is as good as RAVEN BLACK, but there is enough in the story to maintain interest, and Cleeves cleverly threads clues throughout the story, so that even at the end there are surprises.

My rating: 4.5


Juliet said...

Interesting that you didn't think it was as good as Raven Black. All the other reviews I've read rate it even more highly. All the more reason for me to hasten its progress up the TBR mountain so I can see what I make of it myself!

Kerrie said...

for some reason it felt "cozier" than RAVEN BLACK Juliet. Not quite as much depth?? But still very enjoyable.


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