Author: Ann Cleeves
Published: September 2018 by Macmillan
Category: Scottish Crime Fiction, Murder, Suspense, Book Review
Shetland: Welcoming. Wild. Remote.
Drawn in by the reputation of the islands, a new English family move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny’s body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire.
Helena, a well known knitwear designer, her husband Daniel, an architect, and their children, Ellie and Christopher, are recent incomers to Shetland. They’re leaving behind a hectic existence in London and are hoping for a better quality and more tranquil way of life, but find some of the local community less than friendly.
Christopher is autistic, a loner and ostracised by his peers. The previous owner of their new home in Deltaness, Dennis Gear, was found hanging in the barn by Daniel. He’d been on a downward spiral for a while but because of his suicide and the remodelling and extension to the house, their neighbours are jealous and resentful, somehow blaming them for Gear’s death. Helena has been receiving nasty little drawings depicting gallows and a hanged man and that, combined with the gossip, make her uneasy, wondering if they’ll ever be accepted.
When the body of Emma Shearer, a nanny working for Belle and Robert Moncrieff, the local doctor, is found hanging in the barn, just like Dennis Gear, Jimmy Perez calls Chief Inspector Willow Reeve, his superior on the mainland. Perez and Willow have a complicated personal relationship, neither quite sure where they stand. Willow delivers some shocking news when she arrives, and Jimmy’s reaction seems out of character. Relations between the two of them become even more strained and although Jimmy realises he’s behaved badly he can’t seem to get his act together.
Now they’d be working together again, and she wasn’t sure what she made of that. She’d pushed all thoughts of him to the back of her mind. It was too complicated and she was too independent. She’d not been feeling well recently, not as sharp as usual and with a lot less energy.