A message from award-winning and best-selling crime writer, Ann Cleeves, about her new mystery series:
"For all my friends in the US, I'm excited to give you an early look at the cover art of The Long Call, the first book in my new Two Rivers series.
"It's set in North Devon, where I grew up, and it will be on sale in September or you'll find ordering information - and more - here.
"And UK readers, the cover reveal for the UK jacket will be soon and, if you'd like a flavour of the new book, you'll find the first chapter at the back of Wild Fire, out in paperback now.".
Shetland reaches its thrilling conclusion
Series 5 of the award-winning drama, inspired by Ann Cleeves's Shetland mysteries, and starring Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez, has reached its conclusion on BBCOne. If you missed it, there is still time to watch the whole series on catch up (and the DVD is on its way). US viewers have to wait a bit longer: but look out for Shetland series 5 on BritBox in April.
Read an interview with Douglas Henshall, conducted during the filming of series five in Shetland in summer 2018: he talks about why he wanted to sign on for Shetland, how much the series has evolved since the pilot, why he likes that the crime drama is character-based, the relationship between Perez and his daughter (Erin Armstrong), what he enjoys about the Perez-Tosh dynamic - not to mention the challenge of the weather in Shetland! For a different perspective, read an interview in which Shetlander Steven Robertson talks to the Herald about the show, and about growing up in Shetland.
Visit Shetland mini-website for lots of background information, plus a collection of extracts, cast interviews and photos.
Farewell to Jimmy Perez
With Wild Fire, best-selling crime writer Ann Cleeves brings to a close her award-winning series of Shetland mysteries: an English family, drawn in by the beauty of the islands, move to the area, eager to give their autistic son a better life. But when a young nanny's body is found hanging in the barn of their home, rumours of her affair with the husband begin to spread like wild fire. DI Jimmy Perez, called in to investigate, knows that it will mean the return to the islands of his on-off lover and boss Willow Reeves...
Wild Fire was published on Tuesday September 4th in the US and on Thursday September 6th in the UK; it went straight to number one in the Bookseller's weekly ranking of best-selling e-books! Wild Fire is the latest and last of Ann Cleeves's award-winning Shetland novels, so it's farewell to Jimmy Perez - and to say farewell properly, Shetland fiddler Cathy Geldard was commissioned to write a Farewell to Perez. She took as her starting point a traditional Fair Isle grace, which you can hear at the start of the video:
A TUNE FOR JIMMY PEREZ by Cathy Geldard: Video produced by Ian Stephenson at Simpson Street Studios.
The end of something good is always sad, but the completion of a hugely successful and very popular series is a reason to celebrate, too. Ann launched Wild Fire with a party on Wednesday 5th September at - where else? - Lerwick Town Hall. You can follow the link to join the celebrations, live from Lerwick, Shetland: https://t.co/p7pVPPIztH courtesy of Criminal Element (@crimehq). And Shetland Distillery Company, the most Northerly distillery in the UK has produced a special limited edition gin in conjunction with the launch.
Taking inspiration from the novel, Wild Fire is a balanced London Dry Gin with juniper and sweet spice notes that have a lingering and warming finish. Tasted neat, there are notes of warming cinnamon and sweet orange that linger on the palate. The long finish has an aromatic spice with a touch of heat from dried red chillies. Wild Fire pairs beautifully with premium tonic, which softens the heat from the spices and lifts the sweet citrus notes of the sorrel and orange peel. It is best enjoyed with a slice of orange and a copy of Ann Cleeves's Wild Fire.
Shetland Distillery Director, Stuart Nickerson said: "We were very excited when Ann approached us last year to create a gin designed to match her eighth and final Shetland book. We have taken a great deal of time over the gin production and hope all Ann's fans as well as our own customers enjoy Wild Fire which is a slowly warming gin with a lasting finish that mirrors the exciting end to the Shetland series of books."
Ann Cleeves said: "What better way to celebrate the last of the Perez books than by raising a glass of Wild Fire gin produced in the islands by the wonderful Shetland Reel?"
Wild Fire completes the second of Ann's Shetland Quartets, the Four Elements following the original Four Seasons. Read more about Wild Fire - or read more about Shetland: the books, the TV series, and the islands!
Another island for Ann
Award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland and Vera novels, added another island to her portfolio on Sunday 17th February, when she was the castaway on BBC Radio 4's iconic Desert Island Discs. The programme remains available for you to listen online, or download.
Meanwhile, are you up to date with VERA?
The latest case for Ann Cleeves' brilliant but unglamourous detective, DI Vera Stanhope, is The Seagull. Ann's gripping novel, which was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2018, was also the basis for the fourth and final episode of TV's latest series of VERA. The book is the eighth case for Vera, published simultaneously in the UK (by Pan MacMillan) and in the US (by Minotaur Books) on September 2017. It is now also available in paperback and audio editions.
ITV have announced that there will be a tenth series of VERA, based on Ann's characters and settings and starring multi-award-winning Brenda Blethyn. The cast will be filming in the North East in the summer of 2019, and four new episodes will be broadcast in 2020. Meanwhile, series nine is now available on DVD, initially in the UK only. All eight previous series are now available in both region 1 and region 2 formats. They have been widely broadcast; VERA was nominated for an Edgar Award, for Dark Road, the first episode of series 6 (an original screenplay by Martha Hillier). VERA was ranked sixth best TV series of all time in a recent poll. In February 2019 it won the Judges' Award at the Royal Television Society NE Awards in Gateshead.
A Doctorate for Ann
Ann Cleeves, one of Britain's best-known and most respected crime writers, received an honorary award of Doctor of Letters (Hon DLitt) from Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University on 4th December 2018.
Principal at RGU, Professor John Harper said: "Ann is a hugely respected and admired author and I am delighted that RGU is honouring her for her contribution to the world of literature and crime writing."
Ann says: "I was absolutely delighted to be awarded the honorary doctorate of letters from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. It was very special to have my friends and forensic advisors Prof James Grieve and Prof Lorna Dawson there to support me. Congratulations to all the people graduating that day."
This is Ann's second doctorate; she also has an Honorary Doctorate of Letters awarded by the University of Sunderland in 2014.
Ann Cleeves: "the worthiest of winners"
On 26 October 2017, Ann Cleeves was presented with the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers' Association, the highest honour in British crime writing, at the CWA's Dagger Awards ceremony in London.
Presenting Ann with her award, Martin Edwards, Chair of the CWA, said: "It's a lifetime achievement award, and above all it recognises excellence in writing. But it also recognises a significant contribution to the crime writing world. And nobody can deny that Ann Cleeves' contribution has been magnificent."
He went on to say that "You all know about the wonderful books, and you all know about the fantastically successful TV series. So, given that the recurring theme of this evening is friendship, I just want to say a few words about Ann the person," and praised Ann for her kindness and generosity to others, and as a passionate advocate of the library service.
In 2006 Ann was the first winner of the Duncan Lawrie Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of the year, for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland series. In addition, she has been short listed for CWA Dagger Awards, once for the short story dagger, and twice for the Dagger in the Library award which is awarded not for an individual book but for an author's entire body of work.
Ann says: "It's a huge honour to be recognized by my peers, the crime-writers whose books, friendship and support I've enjoyed for more than thirty years. I am privileged to have had such a happy career and I will always be grateful for the support of booksellers and forever indebted to the passion and expertise of librarians, without whom I wouldn't still be writing today."
Ann Cleeves says "Good short stories have a force and a clarity which it's almost impossible to achieve in a novel. That's why I enjoy reading them. I know that each word has been chosen with care.
"I don't send post cards when I travel; I write stories instead. The three pieces in the CWA anthologies bring back vivid memories of Tanzania, Finland and Alaska. Raven Black was originally conceived as another of those holiday snap stories."
In The Starlings and Other Stories, Ann has edited a collection of twelve short stories which are literally, if not snapshots, at least inspired by photographs. She has invited each of her fellow members of Murder Squad to bring in an accomplice, and write a short story inspired by the dramatic photography of Pembrokeshire-based author David Wilson. Ann's own contribution is the title story, The Starlings, featuring DI Vera Stanhope.
Read more about The Starlings and other short stories by Ann Cleeves.
Two standalone novels are back in the bookshops in new paperback editions: The Sleeping and the Dead is a vivid psychological suspense novel the discovery of a body in the lake forces prison officer Hannah Morton to confront her past self; in Burial of Ghosts a holiday romance changes Lizzie's life forever.
Pan MacMillan's Bello imprint hunts down lost classics, and uses modern digital technology to make them available to readers as eBooks or print-on-demand paperbacks: now they are reissuing a selection of these as Pan Heritage Classic paperbacks. A Day in the Death of Dorothea Cassidy is one of Ann Cleeves' 'Inspector Ramsay' series, featuring a police officer who is like Ann's (and TV's) Vera Stanhope in being based in England's northernmost county, Northumberland - though unlike her in many other ways. Looking even further back, to the work of a very young writer, you can also now read the George & Molly books, the adventures of amateur sleuth George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher - and his wife, Molly. (Or you might want to read what Ann would like to say to that younger self).
"I do love Vera!"
In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction
A most satisfying mystery set in an isolated and intriguing location