“Cold Earth” by Anne Cleeves


I thought I’d loaded today’s review book on my iPad before we left home, but I hadn’t. So we’ll save that one for next week, and I’ll review a book I’ve been enjoying on my holiday.
I follow a couple of Detective series where the interpersonal relationships often take precedence over the murder mystery. In poor examples, this is just glorified soap opera. Done by an expert like Ms. Cleeves, it approaches the Artistic Novel.
With the Shetland series, the dual plot lines have a third leg: the social and physical setting. This is the element that holds the whole story together. The Shetlandish nature of the people and the dramatic effects of the weather combine to create an atmosphere that is as comforting and threatening as a cosy peat fire with a storm raging outside.
In this story Jimmy Perez is called upon to solve the mystery of a woman who shows up dead after a landslide, yet no one in their tight community admits having seen her before.
Then Chief Inspector Willow Reeves shows up to take charge, and the hormones start interfering with the investigation. This is truly the fun part of the story, where Perez wanders through his investigation while trying to straighten out his relationship.
The one disappointment I found in this story is that as his relationship with Willow progresses, then his daughter, Cassie almost disappears. Her school is closed because of the landslide, so she is actually in the story more often than usual, but she rarely speaks, and there is none of the personal interplay we have enjoyed in other books.
However, the conflict rises to an appropriate dark-night-and-storm conclusion, and everything is wound up in a satisfying way.
Recommended for “Shetland” fans and lovers of the more cosy style of detective novel.
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5).

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