The Shetland books in order:
The Four Seasons Quartet
More about Raven Black
More about White Nights
More about Red Bones
More about Blue Lightning
* * *
The Four Elements Quartet
More about Dead Water
More about Thin Air
More about Cold Earth
More about Wild Fire
* * *
A Map of Shetland
Wild Fire Down Under
Wild Fire, the latest and last of Ann Cleeves's award-winning Shetland novels, was published on Tuesday September 4th in the US and on Thursday September 6th in the UK, with launch 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). Ann is touring throughout September, so check the events page to see if she will be in your neighbourhood. But the party began a few weeks early in Australia, to coincide with Ann's visit to the Bendigo Writers' Festival. Bendigo is a couple of hours inland from Melbourne and the festival is friendly, informal, a little quirky, a bit like the former gold-mining town that hosts it. Ann says "The world-wide launch of the book was in the small library at Boort, which was tiny, very rural, and where I felt completely at home. It could have been Shetland: people had travelled from all over the region to celebrate the extension of their library, the mayor was there, and the whole community turned out. And there were home-bakes!"
Wild Fire completes the second of Ann's Shetland Quartets, the Four Elements following the original Four Seasons. Read more about Wild Fire
Photo credit: Liz Martin.
An All-time TV Favourite
Although Wild Fire will be the last book in the series, TV's crime drama Shetland continues... And in summer 2018, it was voted one of the all-time top 10 of TV crime dramas.
If you missed it, the fourth series of Shetland is now available on DVD. Shetland is based on the characters and setting of Ann Cleeves's award-winning novels, but the story is an original one, in which Jimmy Perez must deal with murders from the past and present - which have unsettling similarities. It came to an end in a sixth episode in which the personal and the professional collide for detective Jimmy Perez. Ann was stranded on Fair Isle at the time, as she explains in her Diary: " We ate Jimmy's lobster and drank champagne and cheered at the end when it was announced that the show would run again. The cast and the crew will soon be back filming. I hope the weather treats them more kindly." And now, with the summer, comes news that filming has indeed started for series five.
Douglas Henshall returns as DI Jimmy Perez: in a new interview 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, the challenge of the weather in Shetland, and shooting six more hours for Season 5. 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.
US viewers, Shetland is now also available on BritBox.
Visit Shetland mini-website for lots of background information, plus a collection of extracts, cast interviews and photos.
Series three carried off two of 2016's Scottish Baftas: Shetland itself won best television drama, and Douglas Henshall, who plays detective inspector Jimmy Perez, was named best television actor. Director Jan Matthys (best director film/television) and Gaby Chiappe (best writer film/television) were also nominated.
The three series of TV crime dramas, include stories based on Ann's Shetland books, but develop in quite different directions, especially the six-part story which forms the whole of the third series. All three series are now available on DVD:
- Series 1 & 2
Season 1, two-part adaptation of Red Bones; Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning from season two
- Available from Amazon UK (region 2) and from Amazon.com (region 1).
- Series 3
An original 6-part drama
- Available now from Amazon UK (region 2); and from Amazon.com (region 1).
- And Series 4
- is available in the UK on DVD and in the US on Britbox.
Visit the BBC Writers' Room for Ann's reactions. She told us: "The TV adaptations are very often very different from the books - the scriptwriters cut some characters and add others, cut big chunks of plot and sometimes they even change the murderer! But I'm very relaxed about that. Prose and film are different forms. Besides, the book stops being mine every time someone reads it. Each reader brings their own imagination, history and prejudice to the story and each writer has to learn to let go. Adaptation just takes the process a bit further." She shared her thoughts about the shocking events of series 3, episode five with the Guardian.
Too Good To Be True
Award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves is a great believer in the importance of libraries and of reading. So she has written a new mystery featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez from her bestselling Shetland series. But this is a Shetland mystery with a difference: Too Good To Be True is a gripping Quick Read which takes Jimmy Perez away from his home territory, all the way south to the Borders.
When young teacher Anna Blackwell is found dead in her home, the police think her death was suicide or a tragic accident. After all, Stonebridge is a quiet country village in the Scottish Borders, where murders just don't happen.
But Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez soon arrives from far-away Shetland when his ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to look into the case. The local gossips are saying that her new husband, Tom, was having an affair with Anna. Could Tom have been involved with her death? Sarah refuses to believe it - but needs proof.
Anna had been a teacher. She must have loved kids. Would she kill herself knowing there was nobody to look after her daughter? She had seemed happier than ever before she died. And to Perez, this suggests not suicide, but murder ...
Too Good To Be True was selected as one of 15 books to be given away, free, on World Book Night, April 23rd 2016. Organisers explained that the diverse line-up, spanning genres of crime, poetry, non-fiction, YA, historical fiction, and fiction in translation, was devised to celebrate "the enrichment that reading and books can bring to people's lives" encouraging those who don't already read for pleasure - an estimated 36% of adults - to get involved. Ann said "It's nice to be a part of this event, specially with the Quick Read Jimmy Perez!"
Ann Cleeves's Shetland
Ann Cleeves's bestselling series of crime novels, featuring Detective Jimmy Perez, and now also adapted for a major BBC television series, draw their inspiration from the place in which they are set: Shetland.
Ann says "If you'd like to know more about the islands where the show is filmed and the books are set, check out my non-fiction book. It's full of wonderful photos and explains why I love the place so much." It's a gloriously illustrated companion to the novels, taking readers through a year on Shetland, learning about its past, meeting its people, celebrating its festivals and seeing how the flora and fauna of the islands changes with the seasons. Whether it is the drama of the Viking fire festival of Up Helly Aa in winter, or the piercing blue and hot pink of spring flowers on the clifftops, the long, white nights of midsummer or the fierce gales and high tides of autumn, Shetland is vividly captured in all its bleak and special beauty.
An archipelago of more than a hundred islands, Shetland is the one of the most remote places in the United Kingdom. Its fifteen hundred miles of shore mean that wherever one stands, there is a view of the sea. It has sheltered voes and beaches and dramatically exposed cliffs, lush meadows full of wild flowers in the summer and bleak hilltops where only the hardiest of plants will grow. It is a place where traditions are valued and celebrated, but new technologies and ways of working are also embraced.
You can see an extract from the book on the publishers' website.
Ann has contributed a Shetland story - The Spinster - to OxCrimes, a star-studded anthology of the best in crime writing, published by Profile Books in aid of Oxfam. OxCrimes is introduced by Ian Rankin and has been curated by Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, where it will be launched in May: read more on the publisher's website, which includes links to buy your copy from Waterstones or Amazon - or call in at your local Oxfam shop!
My Shetland - two prize-winning short films chosen by Ann Cleeves to show readers of her Shetland Quartet what the islands look like to the people who live there. Or see a large image of the map on this site.