I’m trying to get caught up on some reviews on books I read in the last week of the year so stay tuned for a few more over the next couple of days. This one is for the second book in the Shetland Quartet series by Ann Cleeves, White Nights.
“Perez thought that at this time of year everyone went a bit crazy. It was the light, intense during the day and still there at night… Watching as the man dressed in black knelt in the pool of sunshine and burst into tears, Perez thought it was a case of midsummer madness and hoped someone else would deal with it.”
It’s midsummer in the Shetland Islands and a feeling of revelry seems to permeate the air. Tourists abound and the Herring House gallery is hosting a grand party for artists Bella Sinclair and Fran Hunter.
Unfortunately there isn’t as large a crowd as they expected and the party atmosphere is diminished more by the sudden outburst of one the guests who kneels and begins to cry in front of one the paintings. When Detective Jimmy Perez goes to the man’s aid, the man says he doesn’t know who he is and when Detective Perez leaves him for a bit the man vanishes.
The next day the mysterious man is found hanging in a fishing shed and Detective Perez is convinced he was murdered. Detective Perez feels guilt knowing he may have prevented the murder had he not been too interested in spending more time with Fran Hunter but now he’ll use his knowledge of the island and his background to his advantage.
The author does a good job of describing the setting and how small communities work, with everyone knowing everything about each other past and present. And, while I liked the resolution of the mystery I wasn’t sold on who the culprit was. Still this is a series I will follow as I enjoy Detective Perez because he shows moments of weakness and doubts when conducting his investigation and thus seeming more complex and real.