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News from Shetland

At last the long wait is over for Shetland, the hit crime drama which takes as its point of departure the characters and settings of Ann Cleeves's award-winning series of novels. Series 6 ended on a cliffhanger, with a mystery solved - and with some dramatic developments in the lives of Perez and his team. Now the first episode of series 7 has been broadcast: if you missed it, it is available to watch on catch-up - as are all the previous series. And there'll be another episode next Wednesday. Meanwhile, watch the trailer for a quicl preview.

After the cliffhanger ending of series 6, there's another bombshell - Douglas Henshall has announced that this will be his last season as Jimmy Perez. He said "It's been one of the privileges of my career to play Jimmy Perez for almost 10 years and to work with so many wonderful people both in front of and behind the camera, and also to spend so much time in Shetland." The good news is that the show will carry on - but series 8 will certainly be very different.

All previous series are also available on DVD in the UK. US viewers can also watch it on BritBox or with Prime Video. Details here.

Read more about Shetland: the books, the TV series, and the islands!

Vera's Tenth Case

The Rising Tide - UK edition

Coming in September, the latest mystery from award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves OBE is a new case - an amazing tenth case! - for her much-loved detective Vera Stanhope. It takes her from her wild Northumberland hills to the beautiful tidal island of Lindisfarne. Fifty years ago, a group of teenagers spent a weekend on Holy Island, forging a bond that has lasted a lifetime. Now, they still return every five years to celebrate their friendship, and remember the friend they lost to the rising waters of the causeway at the first reunion.

The Woman on the Island, a Vera Stanhope short story

Vera is no stranger to Lindisfarne: it is an island full of memories for her. To find out why, you can download a FREE Kindle single story The Woman on the Island - which also includes a sneak preview of the first chapters of The Rising Tide!

Or just read all about The Rising Tide here.

There were awards for VERA at the North East Royal Television Society Awards, presented at a star-studded event at the Hillton Newcastle-Gateshead in February 2022. The programme, starring Brenda Blethyn as the tenacious Detective Vera Stanhope, won the prestigious Best Drama award and the actress won for Best Drama Performance. Accepting the awards, Brenda Blethyn thanked the Royal Television Society, and said: "I am absolutely thrilled to bits. This year sees us embarking on season 12 of Vera, so that means we'll have made 50 feature length Vera films."

There was a special award for the production team, too, which may be some comfort for the many fans who've been left hungry for more of Ann Cleeves' much-loved detective. Series 11 of VERA made its first appearance in August 2021 with two episodes, reappeared to brighten our New Year with another two episodes in January 2021, and has now left us in suspense waiting for the remaining two stories in the season. Now it has won a Drama Pandemic Innovation Award, recognising the ingenuity of Team Vera in continuing to produce the series during lockdowns with significant restrictions in place.

Meanwhile, summer sees the return of cast and crew to Northumberland to film series 12 - though that won't air until 2023!

Read more about all things Vera - in print and on TV - here.

The Heron's Cry

The Heron's Cry, UK edition

The latest mystery by award-winning crime writer Ann Cleeves is The Heron's Cry, a second case for detective Matthew Venn and his colleague Jen Rafferty, following their first appearance in The Long Call - as seen on TV, where they were played by Ben Aldridge and Pearl Mackie.

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder - Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed with a shard of one of his glassblower daughter's broken vases.

"This character-driven exploration of people's darkest flaws is a sterling example of Cleeves' formidable talents."

Kirkus Reviews

The Heron's Cry was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022.

The Heron's Cry is published in the UK by Pan MacMillan; also available as an audiobook read by Jack Holden. It is published in the US by Minotaur Books.

The Heron's Cry was longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2022. It has been shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award by the Australian Crime Writers Association, in the International category.

And if you haven't yet watched the dramatisation of The Long Call, it isn't too late! All four episodes were broadcast in the UK in October 2021, and the whole series is available on demand on the ITV Hub. In the US it is streamed on Britbox.

There's a new case for Matthew Venn in a short story, The Girls on the Shore, available now - and including an exclusive extract from the tenth Vera novel, The Rising Tide!

There's more information here, about the show, and about the books.

Other Books

Book Break guides you through the books of Ann Cleeves: you may know Vera Stanhope, but did you know about Ann's first series set in Vera's county of Northumberland, featuring Inspector Stephen Ramsay? Or maybe you're read all of the Shetland books, but didn't know about Ann's standalone titles. Or maybe you'd like to read some short stories next...?

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.

"I do love Vera!"

Val McDermid

In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction

Colin Dexter

A most satisfying mystery set in an isolated and intriguing location

Peter Robinson

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Last update: 11th August 2022.