Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Dead Water" by Ann Cleeves

Jerry Markham, born and raised in Shetland, took himself off to London as soon as he could. He’s a journalist, gradually making a name for himself, although in Shetland he’s something of a celebrity already. But people generally don’t like him; he was the spoiled only child of the owners of Ravenscroft Hotel, he made something of a pest of himself when he reported for the Shetland Times, and he got a local girl, Evie Watt, pregnant when she worked at the hotel. That was another reason for hightailing it to London.

Jerry comes back to Shetland for a visit, although it may be something more than that, like a story. He’s back barely a day when he’s murdered. His body is found floating in a racing scull, and it’s found by Inspector Jimmy Perez’s boss, Rhona Laing. Because Perez is still recovering from the death of his fiancée, a detective inspector is sent from Scotland to manage the case. And what becomes clear is that Rhona knows more about Jerry Markham than she wants to say. So do a lot of other people.

Dead Water by Ann Cleeves is the fifth Jimmy Perez detective novel, and it’s as consistently high-0caliber and entertaining as its predecessors. Cleeves continues to develop the story and character of Perez, who almost against his will is drawn into the investigation. He always knows the right questions to ask, and it’s largely because he pays close attention to what few other investigating officers pay attention to – the personal details.

Ann Cleeves
Cleeves has published seven mysteries in the Jimmy Perez / Shetland series, including Raven Black (2008), Red Bones (2009), White Nights (2010), Blue Lightning (2011), Dead Water (2014), Thin Air (2015), and Cold Air (2017). She’s also published eight mystery novels in the Vera Stanhope series (also a television series), six Inspector Stephen Ramsay mysteries, and several others works and short stories. The Jimmy Perez novels are the basis for the BBC television series “Shetland.” Cleeves lives in northeastern England.

There will be a second murder, with more in the offing unless Perez and his fellow police officers can delve deeply into the past to find answers and motives. Dead Water is a fine mystery, gripping to the end, and has the reader almost cheering to see Jimmy Perez managing to recover from his own personal tragedy.


Top photograph: A view of the Shetland coast, via

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