“Fran sat with her eyes closed. The small plane dropped suddenly, seemed to fall from the sky then levelled for a moment before tilting like a fairground ride. She opened her eyes to see a grey cliff ahead of them. It was close enough for her to make out the white straks of bird muck and last season´s nests. Below, the sea was boiling.”
In this story Jimmy Perez and his wife-to-be, Fran, are visiting his parents on Fair Isle. I think it is difficult to imagine a more remote and forbidding setting for a crime story – lovely and totally irresistible!
After a broken relationship Jane Latimer sees the bird centre in the former lighthouse as a sanctuary. She loves her job as a cook and takes pride in running the kitchen smoothly. Soon it is clear that the place is not quite as idyllic as it seems, however. First Angela Moore, the beautiful but self-centered warden of the bird centre, tells Jane that they won´t need her the next season as they have found a young woman to replace her. And this is only one of a long row of conflicts boiling underneath the surface.
Furthermore, bad weather isolates the staff and their few guests, and when two women are killed, Jimmy Perez is left with a kind of locked-room mystery which he must try to solve all on his own, before more people are killed. Perez struggles to solve the case, but he does find the time to worry about Fran and how she will fit in among his family and the other islanders.
This book offers a terrific mystery and excitement all the way through, but also a sadder and darker tone than the other books, and not only because Jimmy Perez threatens to leave his job so we will have no more Shetland mysteries.
Maxine very kindly sent me her ARC.