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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Ann Cleeves - Black Raven

Review by showhost
This is by the author of Vera so I wasn't going to read it but it is actually about another inspector called Perez and is based in the Shetland islands.  This novel won the Crime Writers' Association Duncan Lawrie Dagger for 2006.  It has the same easy style that the Vera series has.  Nothing fast, furious or gory.  Yes a dead body but a slowly unfolding crime. 

Its New Years eve and 2 girls dare each other to stop by the Shetland home of elderly Magnus Tait to wish him ‘happy new year’.  When Fran Hunter, a single mum, is walking her dog she finds the body of one of these girls.  The girl has been strangled.  In this close community it draws suspicion from all and the finger points to old Magnus.  The crime reawakens the Islanders memory of eight years ago when schoolgirl, Catriona Bruce went missing as Magnus Tait was one of the last to see her.  He was never charged then. 
Local inspector Perez is called in to investigate first the disappearance then the murder.  At the annual festival, Helly Aa, in January, young Cassie goes missing from the crowd. The police are worried that she will soon be another murder victim.  Perez slowly untangles the hidden community secrets along with an inspector from the mainland.  We follow the red herrings and the mystery through the harsh winter of the shetlands.  We also feel the tension and division which start to split the community (and living myself in such a community I can see it happening).  Perez is descended from a Spaniard wrecked on the Fair Isles, hence the name.  He still isn’t quite accepted as an islander.
I thought I had guessed the ending & perp but I was wrong.  I would definitely not class this as a psychological thriller as it doesn't have that same 'grip' on the reader

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