After watching the Vera television series for years, it’s difficult to imagine Vera Stanhope looking any different from Brenda Blethyn’s portrayal – short, always wearing the same raincoat and hat, and somewhere in here 50s or 60s (Blethyn in in her 70s). But, once, Vera Stanhope was a young girl, before she was the rumpled police detective we’ve come to know.
The Woman on the Island by Ann Cleeves is exactly that – Vera as a young girl. She travels with her widowed father to a tourist island (an island only at high tide). It’s a supposed holiday, but by this time Vera knows her father. Something else is up, and most likely it has to do with his poaching of eggs from highly valued bird species.
It is that, but this time it also seems to be more. It’s mid-week, and her father tells her to stay put in their room until he returns. Of course, she doesn’t. She discreetly follows him. What she learns will help propel her on the way to her chosen career of police detective work.
Cleeves has published eight 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), Cold Earth (2017), and Wild Fire (2019). She’s also published nine 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.
The Woman on the Island is a kind of prequel, but it’s not the same kind of detective story Cleeves is known for with her Vera, Jimmy Perez, and other series. It moves more in the direction of serious fiction, but with just enough mystery to keep it true to form.
My review of Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Red Bones by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Raven Black by Ann Cleeves.
My review of White Nights by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Dead Water by Ann Cleeves.
My review of Thin Air by Ann Cleeves.
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