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.)
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.]
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
Read an Excerpt
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.
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.