White Nights by Ann Cleeves (2008)

Shetland’s famous painter, Bella Sinclair, has a new exhibition at her gallery in a small community. But few people attends the opening night, and then there’s a stranger who breaks down in front of one of her paintings. When detective Jimmy Perez, who happens to be at the opening, asks the man about the breakdown, he claims that he has lost his memory. And then the man disappears, only to be found the morning after hung in a boat house.

Jimmy Perez (and his girlfriend, Fran) and the chief inspector, Taylor, who flies in from Inverness every time there’s a murder on the islands, are the only recurring characters from the first book. In this book one gets to know Taylor, as he wasn’t a narrative in the first book. I like that the detectives aren’t as complex as they seem to be in many other modern books.

I liked this book, better than the previous one, not sure why though. Maybe because this book had not as many characters and narratives as the first one. And I was really surprised about who the murderer was and the plot behind the murders (yes, there’s more than one). Again, the only thing that bothered me with the book is that the title of the book occurs too many times within. I don’t need to be reminded a hundred times that the summer nights are too light in Shetland. But the language is definitely better in this one (or maybe I have gotten used to it).

And I really want to visit Shetland now.


Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (2006)

A young girl is found killed in Shetland and her face has been hacked by ravens. The islanders quickly points out the weird old man living by himself as the killer. They have always held him responsible for a child gone missing years ago.

I loved the characters in this story, and I also liked that it is a slow going story with a lot of narrators. You really get to know the island and some of its people, including the murderer. Yet I totally guessed wrong, so Ann Cleeves is as clever as Agatha Christie.

The only thing I didn’t really enjoy was the language. Sometimes it was too simple and sometimes it was trying too hard. I also did not like all the mentioning of ravens in the book, I wonder how many times the word was used?

I have already started on the sequel, White Nights and so far I like it better.