Yorkshire writer Ann Cleeves was shortlisted twice for the CWA Gold Dagger Award before winning it for Raven Black, her first Shetland Islands mystery. Now she returns with the second of a planned quartet,White Nights.
Cleeves is the author of the Inspector Ramsey novels and well as the Vera Stanhope books. The latter has been optioned for television. She is also reader-in-residence for the Harrowgate Crime Writing Festival. All of her novels have in common a taut, atmospheric quality with interesting and realistic characters and cunningly crafted plots.
In White Nights, Detective Jimmie Perez is once again on the case of an Englishman found hanging from a rafter the day after he arrives in the middle of an art gallery show and dissolves in tears, claiming amnesia. It complicates things that the woman Perez wants is drawn to is one of the two artists showing at the gallery.
It’s midsummer in the Shetland Islands, the time of white nights when the birds sing at midnight sun never sets, just dims. Cleeves set her plot in motion and we watch Perez and Fran Hunter as they delicately merge their relationship with the chilling murder investigation. The setting is unusual, the plot intriguing, and I found myself caught up in and staying awake to finish it.