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Red Bones (Shetland Island Quartet #3)

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Overview

Spring: a time of rebirth and celebration. And a time of death ... for April is the cruelest month. When a young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, the island community is intrigued. Is it an ancient find - or a more contemporary mystery? Then an elderly woman is shot on her land in a tragic accident, and Jimmy Perez is called in by the woman's grandson - his own colleague Sandy Wilson. He finds two feuding families whose envy, greed, and bitterness have divided the surrounding community. Then ...

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Red Bones (Shetland Island Quartet #3)

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Overview

Spring: a time of rebirth and celebration. And a time of death ... for April is the cruelest month. When a young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, the island community is intrigued. Is it an ancient find - or a more contemporary mystery? Then an elderly woman is shot on her land in a tragic accident, and Jimmy Perez is called in by the woman's grandson - his own colleague Sandy Wilson. He finds two feuding families whose envy, greed, and bitterness have divided the surrounding community. Then another woman dies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Cleeves's excellent third Shetland Island thriller (after White Nights), Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the shooting death of Mima Wilson, the grandmother of Perez's bumbling if well-meaning underling, Sandy Wilson. While some believe Sandy's cousin Ronald accidentally shot Mima late one night near her croft on Whalsay, a small Shetland island, Perez has his doubts. Mima's land is the site of an archeological excavation led by eager Ph.D. student Hattie James, who recently uncovered a skeleton of indeterminate origin. When another body turns up near the dig site, Perez becomes more suspicious, even though the second death is an apparent suicide. With Sandy's help, he begins to unravel a knot of tall tales and family betrayals that stretches back to a WWII resistance movement known as the Shetland Bus. As in the best traditional English village whodunits, the killer lurks among the townspeople, but his or her identity still comes as a shock. (Sept.)
Library Journal
In this third Shetland Island thriller (after White Nights and the Dagger Award-winning Raven Black), Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez must investigate two murders and unravel the mystery of the human bones found in an archaeological dig. The island of Whalsay, populated by intermarried families, is a place where everyone knows everyone's business all too well. The only thing unknown is the motive for the killings and the identity of the body buried on a desolate farm. VERDICT Moody and atmospheric, this well-written tale will appeal to readers who enjoy Simon Beckett's novels. [Library marketing campaign.]
Kirkus Reviews
Two deaths within a fortnight disrupt a Shetland Island archeological dig. First Ronald Clouston, mistaking old Mima for a rabbit in the foggy Shetland night, accidentally shoots her. Then Hattie James, the emotionally fragile Ph.D. candidate in charge of the 15th-century excavation on Whalsay, slits her veins and lies down to die in one of the site trenches. Mima's grandson Sandy Wilson, who disappointed his family by disdaining crofting and fishing in favor of police work, is ready to write off the deaths as a terrible accident and a suicide. But Inspector Jimmy Perez (White Nights, 2008, etc.), a man who delves into past relationships as quietly but deeply as any psychiatrist, suspects foul play. Given a week to prove his hunches, he uncovers a toxic one-night stand between Hattie and an archeology professor; a World War II liaison between Mima and a Norwegian sailor who was later branded a traitor; the greed and jealousy coloring the relationship between Sandy and Ronald's mums; and the possibility that the bones found at the dig might belong not to a Hanseatic merchant but to someone considerably more contemporary. A denouement at Mima's house draws out the truth while spawning new gossip, innuendo and myth that islanders will pass down for generations. Cleeves is expert at depicting hardscrabble island life, parental expectations and disappointments and emotionally charged silences. Thoughtful readers should give Perez a try.
From the Publisher
"Excellent...As in the best traditional English village whodunits, the killer lurks among the townspeople, but his or her identity still comes as a shock."

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

 

"Cleeves is expert at depicting hardscrabble island life, parental expectations and disappointments and emotionally charged silences. Thoughtful readers should give Perez a try."

Kirkus Reviews

 

"Cleeves' latest mystery is travel and entertainment rolled into one.... a suspenseful read."

RT Book Reviews

 

"Moody and atmospheric ... well-written tale."

Library Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312384432
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Series: Shetland Island Quartet , #3
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 124,859
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

ANN CLEEVES is reader-in-residence for the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, and was twice shortlisted for the CWA Dagger Award before winning the first Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award for Raven Black. Red Bones is her third thriller set in the Shetland Island. She lives in Yorkshire, England.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Anna opened her eyes and saw a pair of hands, streaked and shiny with blood. No face. In her ears a piercing squeal. At .rst she thought she was at Utra and Ronald was helping Joseph to kill another pig. That would explain the blood, the red hands and the terrible high-pitched sound. Then she realized the noise was her own voice screaming.

Someone rested a dry hand on her forehead and murmured words she didn’t understand. She spat out an obscenity at him.

More pain.

This is what it is to die.

The drug must be wearing off because she had a sudden burst of clarity as she opened her eyes again to bright, arti.cial light.

No, this is what it is to give birth.

‘Where’s my baby?’ She could hear the words slightly blurred by the pethidine.

‘He was having problems breathing on his own. We’ve just given him some oxygen. He’s .ne.’ A woman’s voice. A Shetlander, slightly patronizing, but convincing, and that mattered most.

Further away a man with blood to his elbow grinned awkwardly.

‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Retained placenta. Better to get it out here than take you to theatre. I thought you wouldn’t want that after a forceps delivery, but it can’t have been very comfortable.’

She thought of Joseph again, the hill ewes lambing, the ravens .ying off with placenta in their beaks and on their claws. This hadn’t been what she’d been expecting. She hadn’t thought childbirth would be so violent or so raw. She turned and saw Ronald; he was still holding her hand.

‘I’m sorry I swore at you,’ Anna said.

She saw he’d been weeping. ‘I was so scared,’ he said. ‘I thought you were dying.’

Excerpted from Red Bones by Ann Cleeves.

Copyright © 2009 by Ann Cleeves.

Published in September 2009 by St. Martin’s Press.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

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( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2014

    LOVE the Shetland series!!!

    Almost want to move to Shetland except for all the murders!!! LOL!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 19, 2012

    Great read

    Great book, love the characters,the history,the whole series is good. Looking forward to next Shetland book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The third Shetland Island police procedural is a super whodunit

    Shetland Islands Inspector Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of Mima Wilson, who was shot to death. The case is somewhat personal as Mima was the grandma of the police detective's subordinate Sandy Wilson. The locals on Whalsay Island believe Mima's grandson Ronald accidentally shot and killed her, but Perez has doubts about the theory.

    Instead he wonders if the homicide might be linked to an archeological dig on Mima's land. Ph.D. candidate student Hattie James recently dug up a skeleton that might date back to the fifteenth century or earlier. A second body is found at the excavation location; that person apparently committed suicide leading the detective to assume the bones are contemporary. Perez with Sandy's surprisingly somewhat competent but reluctant help begins to unravel Wilson secrets that date back to WWII and the resistance.

    The third Shetland Island police procedural (see RAVEN BLACK and WHITE NIGHTS) is a super whodunit. Jimmy is terrific as he battles the islanders who know Ronald accidentally killed his grandma and thus believe an investigation is a waste of time and money. Fans will enjoy Jimmy's efforts to uncover what really happened on Whalsay Island with no one, not even Sandy who is pulled between family and work loyalties, fully cooperating.

    Harriet Klausner

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