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Shetland Books in Order: How to read Ann Cleeves’s series?

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By the author of the Vera Stanhope series.

What the Shetland Series is about?

Before it was a television series starring Douglas Henshall, Shetland was a book series, a crime series written by Ann Cleeves, to be precise.

The story is set in the isolated Scottish Shetland Isles and follows Detective Inspector Perez and his police colleagues’ investigations as they become entwined in the island community. They investigate mysterious disappearances, murders, and the darkest secrets of Scotland’s most northerly isles.

Shetland Books in Order:

Raven Black - Shetland Books in Order White Nights - Shetland Books in Order Red Bones - Shetland Books in Order

  1. Raven Black – On New Year’s Eve, the lonely outcast named Magnus Tait, who stays home waiting for visitors who never come. But the next morning the body of a murdered teenage girl is discovered nearby, and suspicion falls on Magnus. Inspector Jimmy Perez enters an investigative maze that leads deeper into the past of the Shetland Islands than anyone wants to go.
  2. White Nights – The launch of an exhibition at The Herring House art gallery is disturbed by a stranger who bursts into tears, then claims not to remember who he is or where he comes from. The next day he’s found dead.
  3. Red Bones – 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 fatally is shot and Detective Jimmy Perez is called in. A claustrophobic mists swirl around the Shetland Islands, and Inspector Perez finds himself totally in the dark.

Blue Lightning - Shetland Books in Order Dead Water - Shetland Books in Order Thin Air - Shetland Books in Order

  1. Blue Lightning – Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez brings his fiancée home to Fair Isle, a birder’s paradise, where strangers are viewed with suspicions and distrust. When a woman’s body is discovered at the island’s bird observatory, the investigation is hampered by a raging storm that renders the island totally isolated. Jimmy has to find clues the old-fashioned way, and he has to do it quickly.
  2. Dead Water – When the body of a journalist is found, Detective Inspector Willow Reeves is drafted from outside to head up the investigation. Inspector Jimmy Perez has been out of the loop, but his local knowledge is needed in this case, and he decides to help Willow. The dead journalist had left the islands years before to pursue his writing career. In his wake, he left a scandal involving a young girl.
  3. Thin Air – A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Shetland to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends. But, one of them, Eleanor, disappears–apparently into thin air. Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to investigate.
  4. Offshore – A collection of eight short stories, all set on islands off the coast of the UK, and features cases for both DI Jimmy Perez on Shetland, and DI Willow Reeves on Uist in the Outer Hebrides.
  5. Too Good To Be True – Another short story. When young teacher Anna Blackwell is found dead in her home, the police think her death was suicide or a tragic accident. But Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez soon arrives from far-away Shetland when his ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to look into the case.

Cold Earth - Shetland Books in Order Wild Fire - Shetland Books in Order

  1. Cold Earth – In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and water smash through a house in its path. Everyone thinks the home is uninhabited, but in the wreckage, he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. Perez soon becomes obsessed with tracing her identity and realizes he must find out who she was and how she died.
  2. Wild Fire – When the Flemings―designer Helena and architect Daniel―move into a remote community in the north of Shetland, they think it’s a fresh start for themselves and their children. But their arrival triggers resentment, and Helena begins to receive small drawings of a gallows and a hanged man. Gossip spreads like wildfire.

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