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Raven Black by Ann Cleeves
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Raven Black

by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,454967,930 (3.72)311
  1. 20
    The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths (Menagerie)
    Menagerie: European history, murder mystery, lots of atmosphere, small town politics and relationships
  2. 10
    The Blackhouse by Peter May (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: Similar settings; Shetlands/ Hebrides
  3. 10
    Written in Bone by Simon Beckett (2810michael)
  4. 21
    Still Life by Louise Penny (y2pk)
    y2pk: Armande Gamache investigates murder in the small isolated community of Three Pines in Quebec, Canada.
  5. 00
    Cold Granite by Stuart MacBride (allan.hird)
    allan.hird: Another great scottish procedural with an intersting detective.
  6. 00
    Awakening by S. J. Bolton (2810michael)
  7. 02
    Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves (Andrew-theQM)
    Andrew-theQM: If you enjoy the Vera Stanhope Series, I think you will enjoy the Shetland Islands series by Ann Cleeves.
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English (91)  Danish (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
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 is resolved later in the book. 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

The video is on my site, very cool! ( )
  SquirrelHead | Sep 18, 2018 |
This is the first of the Jimmy Perez Shetland mysteries. It’s atmospheric and compelling, with the strangulation murder of a young girl leading the action. Lots of character development and the eerie Up Helly Aa celebration of the longest nights of the year made this a winner for me. ( )
  bohemima | Aug 5, 2018 |
Easy read and I had completely forgotten the culprit so that was a surprise. Enjoyable. ( )
1 vote infjsarah | Apr 27, 2018 |
Like so many others, I was drawn to Raven Black because of the PBS series. I found the novel very easy to read and quick to draw the reader into the atmosphere of Shetland and the characters who lived there. Cleeves did an admirable job of developing the characters in such a way as to coax the reader through the process of figuring out what led up to the deaths of the two young ladies. I'm a great fan of Peter May who is a master of creating a sense of place in his Lewis trilogy. While there are similar moments in this novel, Cleeves strength seems to be in her ability to create complex characters on several different levels and then letting them "live" out the plot. I look forward to reading more in this series. ( )
1 vote Hardboiled | Mar 28, 2018 |
I'm a big fan of the PBS series Shetland. It was until I had watched a half-dozen episodes I became aware it was based on this book series. I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy this one as I had recently watched the episode that was based on it. But there were enough differences that wasn't a problem!

Very enjoyable! Afraid I have another book series to work my way through! ( )
1 vote catzkc | Mar 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
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For Ella. And her grandfather.
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Twenty past one in the morning on New Year's Day. Magnus knew the time because of the fat clock, his mother's clock, which squatted on the shelf over the fire. In the corner the raven in the wicker cage muttered and croaked in its sleep. Magnus waited.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312359675, Paperback)

Winner of Britain’s coveted Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, Ann Cleeves introduces a dazzling new suspense series to U.S. mystery readers.

Raven Black begins on New Year’s Eve with a lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:07 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Inspector Jimmy Perez is a very private and perceptive man whose bailiwick is a remote hamlet in the Shetland Islands. It is a cold January morning and Shetland lies beneath a deep layer of snow. Trudging home, Fran Hunter's eye is drawn to a splash of color on the frozen ground, ravens circling above. It is the strangled body of her teenage neighbor, Catherine Ross. The locals on the quiet island stubbornly focus their gaze on one man--loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But when detective Jimmy Perez and his colleagues from the mainland insist on opening out the investigation, a veil of suspicion and fear is thrown over the entire community. For the first time in years, Catherine's neighbors nervously lock their doors, while a killer lives on in their midst.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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