Blue Lightning Monday, Mar 14 2011 

Ann Cleeves is an award-winning writer Auntie M first became acquainted with in her Inspector Ramsey series. Following that were three DI Vera Stanhope mysteries, and I’ve just read that those have been filmed for TV in the UK with the wonderful Brenda Blethyn playing the rumpled and secure Vera. Watch your Masterpiece Mystery listings down the road for these.

Today’s review is of the fourth installment in Cleeves’ Shetland Island series. The first, Raven Black, won Cleeves the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, followed by White Night and Red Bones, which have also been reviewed on this blog. The novels feature Shetland Island detective Jimmy Perez and his love, Fran, as well as the inhabitants of the small island. Filled with atmosphere, all of the books give the reader a glimpse of life on a remote island where community traditions are held in reverence and secrets are kept.

With Blue Lightning, Cleeves takes a huge risk, one that this writer is not about to reveal. Suffice it to say that you will be transfixed when Perez takes Fran home to Fair Isle to meet his parents. Strangers are viewed warily, and Perez is worried about the reception Fran will have to endure. The tiny island, famous for its knit sweaters, becomes cut off from the rest of the world when an autumn storm rages. Cleeves does a good job communicating the sense of being trapped, with the high tension this brings. She also informs the reader of the birding world and the passion birders hold for their subject.

Then a woman’s body is discovered at the island’s renowned bird observatory, feathers threaded through her hair, signifying something only the murderer knows. With no support from the mainland, Fran becomes involved in helping Perez as he hunts for the killer.Long-buried secrets within Perez’s own family are revealed during the investigation, calling into question everything Perez thought he knew. What first appeared to be a crime of passion is revealed to be a cold-blooded, planned murder. And then a second body is found . . .

Author Louise Penny called Blue Lightning “nothing short of riveting” and I would have to concur. Don’t miss this installment from a writer willing to take risks, writing at the top of her game.

 

Purple Martins Thursday, Apr 3 2008 

Those chattering, mildly irritating birds are back, in force, scoping out which of three apartment building sites will contain the nest for their newbies. At our river home we take bets on when the PM sentinels will arrive from Brazil to see if their former flats are up and cleaned out. I was this year’s lucky winner with March 28th.

You can tell it’s really spring in NC when the PM’s come back and with it comes the usual: garden cleanup, which I am pretending someone else is going to do this year; red ant hills, which my savvy Silver Fox has already been out treating; bugs. The mosquitoes won’t arrive for a while, but the honey bees will soon, and then the hornets which I loathe. Sugar ants came and went, ditto one tiny mouse who slipped in when our door didn’t latch properly after a storm.

Ah, the joys of living so close to nature. Did I mention I have to start watching where I put my feet for snakes????

Auntie M had a good time visiting the Grands in MN, although illness plagues us all.  The kids are terrific and the 16 mos old baby is starting to talk.  Now that Grandpa Art comes out “Bart,” the older kids are calling my Silver Fox that, so I just may adopt that name for a while. . .

Lee Lofland

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Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Authors and reviewers of historical crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews