28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Red Bones (Shetland) (Paperback)
I really liked this book. Ann Cleeves is a terrific writer who has so much skill at evoking a sense of place and its living breathing atmosphere.
"Red Bones" is part of the Inspector Jimmy Perez series set in the Shetland Islands, where "insular" takes on definitive meaning. "Red..." opens with the shooting of a feisty old woman, the owner of a archeological site that is being excavated by a PhD student and her assistant. The killing appears to be accidental, although how it could have occurred is unclear, even to the man who has confessed to the shooting. The incident is laid to rest by the authorities despite some misgivings by Inspector Perez. Shortly thereafter, a second death occurs and Perez isn't buying the theory that it is a suicide. The mystery is slowly revealed and concluded with an intelligent spin that the author has kept up her sleeve throughout the story.
So, excellent mystery story and clever ending. But better--much better--is the finely crafted evocation of this small northern place and how it feels to live there. The author must be more than a little bit of a naturalist as she describes with real feeling how the sea, fields, sky, etc. look, feel and smell. She includes details like the specific names of local birds and how they relate to the weather, season or even the foretelling of events. Also enjoyable in "Red..." is the wonderful collection of characters included and how they think, react and interact as families and individuals. Cleeves convincingly argues that the islands' social history dictates the dynamics of relationships in the present and that past tragedies always carry forward in those small places. So, if your grandmother did my grandmother wrong, you share responsibility for the alleged deed.
A totally enjoyable read and recommended.