Blue Lightning-Ann Cleeves

Blue Lightning

Ann Cleeves

Minotaur, Sep 28 2010, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312384357

Police Detective Jimmy Perez brings his English fiancée Fran Hunter to his home on Fair Isle to meet his parents and the other residents.  A welcoming fete is thrown, but at a bird observatory, someone stabs a woman with a knife to her back and leaving feathers in her hair.

The deceased is a famous BBC ornithologist Angela, alleged guardian of the island’s bird sanctuary.  Perez realizes the victim was universally disliked by those who knew her; even perhaps her husband Maurice.  Suspects are numerous ranging from a myriad of lovers, her stepdaughter, her employee and the bird lovers’ crowd.  Perez struggles on his own due to a hurricane cutting off the island from the mainland.  At the same time just before the storm hit, there is an influx of bird watchers due to a rare avian finding.  As Perez digs deeper and Fran tries to help her beloved though he pleads with her not to get involved, he fears a tie to his family.

The final Shetland Island police procedural (see Red Bones, Raven Black and White Nights) is a super whodunit.  The story line focuses beyond just Jimmy’s investigation and relationship with his fiancée, as the murder haunts the small community although the victim is loathed by anyone who met her.  Jimmy is great as he is cut off from professional help, but though he detests what he is finding, he resolutely stays the course.  With a final twist that will stun fans, The Shetland Island saga is a terrific series and hopefully will have more colorful Fair Isle mysteries.

Harriet Klausner

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