When a young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains, the locals are intrigued. Is it an ancient find--or a more contemporary mystery? Then an elderly woman is fatally shot and Ann Cleeves's popular series detective Jimmy Perez is called in. As claustrophobic mists swirl around the island, Inspector Perez finds himself totally in the dark.
Starred Review. In Cleeves's excellent third Shetland Island thriller (after White Nights), Insp. Jimmy Perez investigates the shooting death of Mima Wilson, the grandmother of Perez's bumbling if well-meaning underling, Sandy Wilson. While some believe Sandy's cousin Ronald accidentally shot Mima late one night near her croft on Whalsay, a small Shetland island, Perez has his doubts. Mima's land is the site of an archeological excavation led by eager Ph.D. student Hattie James, who recently uncovered a skeleton of indeterminate origin. When another body turns up near the dig site, Perez becomes more suspicious, even though the second death is an apparent suicide. With Sandy's help, he begins to unravel a knot of tall tales and family betrayals that stretches back to a WWII resistance movement known as the Shetland Bus. As in the best traditional English village whodunits, the killer lurks among the townspeople, but his or her identity still comes as a shock. (Sept.)
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August 31, 2009
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Excerpt from Red Bones by Ann Cleeves
Anna opened her eyes and saw a pair of hands, streaked and shiny with blood. No face. In her ears a piercing squeal. At .rst she thought she was at Utra and Ronald was helping Joseph to kill another pig. That would explain the blood, the red hands and the terrible high-pitched sound. Then she realized the noise was her own voice screaming.
Someone rested a dry hand on her forehead and murmured words she didn't understand. She spat out an obscenity at him.
This is what it is to die.
The drug must be wearing off because she had a sudden burst of clarity as she opened her eyes again to bright, arti.cial light.
No, this is what it is to give birth.
'Where's my baby?' She could hear the words slightly blurred by the pethidine.
'He was having problems breathing on his own. We've just given him some oxygen. He's .ne.' A woman's voice. A Shetlander, slightly patronizing, but convincing, and that mattered most.
Further away a man with blood to his elbow grinned awkwardly.
'Sorry,' he said. 'Retained placenta. Better to get it out here than take you to theatre. I thought you wouldn't want that after a forceps delivery, but it can't have been very comfortable.'
She thought of Joseph again, the hill ewes lambing, the ravens .ying off with placenta in their beaks and on their claws. This hadn't been what she'd been expecting. She hadn't thought childbirth would be so violent or so raw. She turned and saw Ronald; he was still holding her hand.
'I'm sorry I swore at you,' Anna said.
She saw he'd been weeping. 'I was so scared,' he said. 'I thought you were dying.'
Excerpted from Red Bones by Ann Cleeves.
Copyright (c) 2009 by Ann Cleeves.
Published in September 2009 by St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.