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BOOK REVIEW: WHITE NIGHTS
BY ANN CLEEVES

We hope you enjoy this book review by Caryn St. Clair.



White Nights is the second book in Cleeves' Shetland Quartet. After Raven Black where readers experienced the darkness of both the days and moods of a Shetland winter, Cleeves now takes readers to the long days of summer filled with daylight late into the nighttime hours. Unfortunately, just because the days are lighter longer does not mean all is well. The long hours without true darkness apparently affects the emotional wellbeing of people nearly as much as the long dark days of winter-just differently.

Inspector Jimmy Perez and artist Fran Hunter, introduced in Raven Black, are back again in White Nights. Well known local artist Bella Sinclair has arranged an exhibition of her work as well as Fran's to be held at the Herring House Gallery. The evening does not go well. First, the event is not well attended even though it was heavily promoted. Then just when the attendees seem to begin to focus on the art, a Englishman burst in behaving quite oddly. He is extremely distressed, and seems to not know who he is or why he is in the Shetlands. The next day, a body of stranger is found hanging in a fishing shack wearing a clown's mask. Is it the body of the Englishman? Why was he here? Why the clown mask? Later, yet another person present at the art exhibition is murdered. The sleep deprived villagers want desperately to believe an outsider is responsible. What the villagers are afraid to admit to themselves, is that the isolated nature of the Shetlands, sets up generations of family secrets to become twisted and reappear in later years.

Cleeves has done a remarkable job of making the environment of the Shetlands a major force in her books. Both Raven Black and White Nights are small village mysteries with well crafted plots. What sets them apart is the introduction of the extremes in light in the village and it's effect on the people's moods. It was well done in the first book, but is much more of a force in White Nights.

REVIEWED BY CARYN ST. CLAIR

DO NOT REPRINT WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, CARYN ST. CLAIR


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