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by Ann Cleeves
Minotaur Books, February 2014
387 pages
ISBN: 1250036607

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Inspector Jimmy Perez is back. The silent, brooding detective, introduced in what was supposed to be a quartet of books (this is now the fifth), returns to work after a six-month absence, following the death of his fiancée, Fran.

A murder brings him back to work. The body of Jerry Markham, a London journalist who grew up in the Shetland Islands, is found in a yoal, a small wooden boat, adrift in the waters offshore. The body happens to have been found by Rhona Laing, who spotted the drifting boat from her living room window. Inexplicably, Markham's death seems to bother Laing, a tough, seasoned prosecutor not given to emotional displays.

Because of the crime's seriousness, Detective Inspector Willow Reeves from Inverness is brought in to head the case. She taps Jimmy, still on leave, for his local knowledge and relationships. Slowly, still battling depression and anger, Jimmy finds himself drawn into the case. As he investigates, he sheds his grief, bit by bit.

Markham had left the islands under a bit of scandal. He had returned to write a story about renewable energy and efforts - as well as opposition - to use tidal power in the islands. But did he really come back for a story, or for more personal reasons? And does Laing know more than she's telling?

Cleeves is not only a true master of plotting the traditional British mystery, but she also presents a beautifully bleak setting. On an isolated set of islands far from the rest of Scotland, Jimmy Perez operates in a small community where secrets often are kept—for a time, at least.

§ Lourdes Venard is a newspaper editor in Long Island, N.Y.

Reviewed by Lourdes Venard, April 2014

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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