Published September 2014
The sixth book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series
Thin Air is the next book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series – which is now a major BBC One drama starring Douglas Henshall as detective Jimmy Perez.
A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland’s most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears – apparently into thin air. It’s mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. The following day, Eleanor’s friend Polly receives an email. It appears to be a suicide note, saying she’ll never be found alive. And then Eleanor’s body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge.
Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate. Before she went missing, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a local child who drowned in the 1920s. Her interest in the ghost had seemed unhealthy – obsessive, even – to her friends: an indication of a troubled mind. But Jimmy and Willow are convinced that there is more to Eleanor’s death than they first thought.
Is there a secret that lies behind the myth? One so shocking that someone would kill – many years later – to protect?
Ann Cleeves’ striking new Shetland novel explores the tensions between tradition and modernity that lie deep at the heart of a community, and how events from the past can have devastating effects on the present.
Also available in the Shetland series are Raven Black, White Nights, Red Bones, Blue Lightning and Dead Water. Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope series series (ITV television drama VERA) contains six titles, of which Harbour Street is the most recent.
Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are called to investigate the disappearance and murder of a woman visiting the Shetland islands for a traditional Scottish wedding reception, a hameferin. The group of old university friends were staying at a holiday cottage, when late one night Eleanor vanishes. Eleanor is found the next day murdered. Added to this mix is the supernatural story of Peerie Lizzie. Lizzie was a child in the 1920, who died by the shore and is said to be haunting the beaches. Who would want to kill Eleanor? And how is the ghostly Peerie Lizzie connected to the case?
This time, English folk from London are visiting and in their wake comes trouble. I smiled at the way Cleeves describes the Londoners and makes the divide between the Scottish and English come to life. A complete culture clash! Very timely considering the Scottish referendum.
I was delighted to see Perez back, with Willow and Sandy. I just love them and feel like I really know them. And the cast of supporting characters, from the hoteliers to the locals, to the outsiders from London are so well drawn.
I love the way we see Jimmy Perez, a man coming to terms with death and slowly healing. It is cleverly done. There is no quick fix. Perez is still struggling, although is that little bit stronger. He is not ready yet for another relationship. Although there is a slow burning attraction there with Willow.
Ann Cleeves creates an exciting, atmospheric and truly gripping read, with a breathtaking, beautiful location. The Shetland series really is wonderful. I can’t wait for the next one!