Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves

Review published on July 8, 2016.

This is the seventh crime novel in the Shetland series, featuring Jimmy Perez as detective and now made into a TV drama. It is a clever mystery. A beautiful dark haired woman in a red dress is caught in a landslide, triggered by torrential rain, which engulfs the croft she is in, which was thought by the locals to be uninhabited and also crosses the main Lerwick to Sumburgh road, thus inconveniencing road users. But it turns out that she was already dead before the landslide. How? Who was she? (Not a local) How did she die?

I am a reader who has not watched the BBC series Shetland, but I have spent some time in the archipelago and I was impressed by Ann Cleves’ accurate and atmospheric description of the scenery, the weather, the winter darkness and the local people and their interconnectedness.

The brilliant plot had me gripped, as in any good crime novel, and I was surprised at the final revelation of the killer. The author led me to suspect several others but not the real murderer. Indeed we got to know many other island characters – and their weaknesses and strengths. I felt that the romantic element was unnecessary, but perhaps other readers would look for this in a good book.

The title is appropriate, with the landslide and later events, but why use a title already taken by another novel set in Greenland by Sarah Moss ?

I recommend this book as an engrossing, cleverly constructed mystery.

Jan Jeffery 5/3

Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
Macmillan 9781447278214 hbk Oct 2016



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