Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

ravenblackI decided to “visit” the Shetland Islands through Anne Cleeves descriptive prose for my armchair traveling.

Raven Black is the first book in the Shetland series.  This book starts with the introduction of Inspector Jimmy Perez and the murder of a beautiful teen aged girl, Catherine Ross. Seems just about everyone in the small town believes eccentric Magnus Tait is responsible for the murder of Catherine. She was strangled and left in a snowy field near Magnus’ house.
Magnus is clearly a mentally deficient person although capable enough to live on his own. But is he capable of murder?

A young girl named Catriona had disappeared some 10 years earlier and Magnus was their prime suspect. No body was found and he couldn’t be charged. But did he do it? This girl’s disappearance is introduced early in the novel to establish the mistrust of old Magnus as well as give the reader one of many suspects to consider for Catherine’s murder.

In addition to Jimmy Perez we have multiple perspectives. Each chapter gives us a different point of view. Fran Hunter and her ex-husband Duncan who have a young daughter named Cassie. Fran is the one to discover Catherine’s body.
Sally Henry is a teenager, Catherine’s friend and the daughter of a school teacher. It’s very difficult to attend school when your parent is a teacher. Hard to fit in and be trusted. There is Robert, a tall handsome student who Sally is interested in. Robert’s father is a big figure with the upcoming festival Up Helly Aa. We don’t meet Robert’s father but you can tell how important and prestigious it is that Robert is involved in his father’s business and the festival.

There are preparations for Up Helly Aa, something I had to look up because I had no idea what it is. To read about the festival, make travel arrangements to visit and get involved, click HERE.  I added an interesting video at the end of the post explaining Up Helly Aa.

When I grabbed the book at the library and read the flap I wondered how a name such as Jimmy Perez came up on a remote Scottish island. It is explained early on about his ancestor, probably from Spain, shipwrecked near Shetland. I pictured Antonio Banderas so was shocked to see a reddish-brown haired man playing this part on the TV series. I haven’t picked up the series yet, just watched a preview in IMDB.

Anyway, he settled on Fair Isle and generations of Perez families prospered. Jimmy is a good detective and an empathic man and longs for a family life. I like this guy.

The weather is almost a character in its own right. It comes up so much and it’s so very descriptive about the wind, the ice, the snowdrifts, the cold. If you like mysteries and police procedurals this may be a book for you. This one has potential for sure and I already like a few of the characters so I will continue with book 2 next.

Foodie stuff: Stopping at the coffee shop for a mug of milky coffee and a pastry with apricots and vanilla or a slice of chocolate cake. Tea and coffee, lots of it. Drams of whiskey, bottles of wine, toast and jam.

And now for a treat, click below for Learning with Rowan to see what Up Helly Aa is all about. Looks like a fun festival but oh so cold!

Learning with Rowan about Up Helly Aa

Linking up with:
Joy’s Book Blog for British Isles Friday
Heather for her August Foodie Reads

11 thoughts on “Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

  1. I love the show…I’m just a bit bummed right now that there are no new episodes! Thnx for sharing the about the book, I think I’d like to hear more details about the bleak landscape and this detective who is himself so quiet, contained and intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Books that give you a window into an unfamiliar part of the world are always intriguing, though the police part of this one sounds a bit like many other British police and detective stories (on TV or in books). Interesting review!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • The investigation is like most of the procedurals indeed except for the “small town mindset” of the little community. Once you are an outcast the folks don’t give you another opportunity….evidently. I loved the cold landscape.


  3. I watched the series and really liked it though I haven’t read any of the books so I can’t compare them. The first 2 seasons are based on Cleeves’ books but the 3rd season isn’t and I didn’t care for that one nearly as much. The mystery just wasn’t as well done and I didn’t like the direction it went with the characters. If you watch the show I’ll be curious to see what you think. I’m really looking forward to trying this one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Katherine, I had read the first few episodes are “loosely based on the books” so I suppose that will be very different. Once I see if Doug is planning to read them I will get the TV series from the library. I wish they didn’t change so much from the books.


  4. This video is fantastic and so entertaining while telling me all about this HellyAa- so interesting! I haven’t heard of the show, but the book does sound fun in that it gives a bit of history with the murders!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Fun British Stories #BriFri – Joy's Book Blog

  6. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday – Books with Color in the Titles | Novel Meals

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