#27 - Book Review - White Nights by Anne Cleeves
As I discovered the beauty of the Shetland Islands through the wonderful Shetland TV show, I thought it was only appropriate to read the books that are the basis of the series. Anne Cleeves wrote eight novels about her Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez. White Nights is her second novel in the Shetland mysteries.
The first four book books of the Shetland series have a color theme. The first book was Raven Black and set in the Shetland winter, and this second book is White Nights and is set in high summer. As Shetland is so close to the Arctic Circle, sometimes the sun does not set fully and the nights are white. Apparently it affects some people negatively. Sadly when I visited in August, Shetland definitely experience dark nights.
Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez is hanging out more and more with Fran, a “incomer” (aka not native) to Shetland. Fran was integral in the first novel, and now she and Jimmy appear to be on the way to dating. When Jimmy attends Fran’s first art show, a mysterious man makes a scene and is later found dead. And so we start down the path of figuring out who the mystery man was and why he was in Shetland in the first place.
I had the luxury of reading Cleeves’s first novel when I was staying in Shetland, but reading the second book back in the U.S. doesn’t disappoint. While the main village of Biddista is fictional, we visited so many similar locations that I could easily visualize the action. Also, I loved that Shetland’s wild coastlines featured prominently in the story, as the “Pit o Biddista” is (I think) based on Calder’s Geo at Eshaness in western Shetland. We visited the cliffs of Eshaness, but I was WAY to sacred to walk anywhere near the hole. Maybe next time (and there will be a next time.)
Funny enough, White Nights is one of the only books that was not produced in the TV series. I wonder if it is too difficult to replicate perpetual twilight, or perhaps filming the exploration of the “pit” would have been too dangerous or expensive.
Once again, I found myself so close to immediately ordering the three book in the quartet Red Bones. Now that book was made into the tv show, so while I know the plot well I still can’t wait to dive into the novel!