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The Shetland books in order:

The Four Seasons Quartet

Raven Black
More about Raven Black
White Nights
More about White Nights
Red Bones
More about Red Bones
Blue Lightning
More about Blue Lightning

* * *

The Four Elements Quartet

Dead Water
More about Dead Water
Thin Air
More about Thin Air
Cold Earth
More about Cold Earth
Wild Fire
More about Wild Fire

* * *

Other resources

Map of Shetland
A map of Shetland
Vaila Harvey
Vaila's Fund

* * *

Shetland renewed

The BBC has announced that Shetland, the gripping tv crime drama which grew out of Ann Cleeves' award-winning detective novels, will return for not one but two more series! Viewers will get another look at the developing relationdhip between Tosh (Alison O'Donnell) and DI Ruth Calder (played by Ashley Jensen).

Shetland series 9 features Ashley Jensen and Alison O'Donnell

The BBC said that Shetland was the second biggest drama of the year in Scotland across all channels and streamers in 2023, behind only Happy Valley! It was shortlisted for the 2024 Thalia Proctor Memorial Award for the best adapted TV crime drama awarded annually by CrimeFest (and so was VERA!). If you missed it, the full series is available on the BBC iPlayer, as are all the previous series.

Ashley Jensen said she was "thrilled" to be playing the part of Detective Calder again. Series 8 marked her debut in the leading rôle, after she replaced Douglas Henshall as Ann Cleeves' popular detective Jimmy Perez. She said: "The reaction to the last series was incredible and I'm excited at the prospect of unravelling more intrigue.

"The Shetland Isles are breath-taking - without a doubt one of the most memorable and unique filming locations I've been to."

Alison O'Donnell said that she "could not be happier" about returning. She added: "Ashley and I just scratched the surface of our dynamic in Series 8 and I am delighted that we now have the opportunity to build on that." Series regulars Steven Robertson (Sandy), Lewis Howden (Billy) and Anne Kidd (Cora) are also confirmed to return. The latest series will be written by Paul Logue and Denise Paul and will be produced by Silverprint Pictures.

And of course, all the original mysteries featuring Jimmy Perez are still there in Ann Cleeves' eight Shetland novels, two whole quartets to read whenever you want to!

Too Good To Be True

Too Good to be True

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.

It's a long way from Shetland - but Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez is on the spot. His ex-wife, Sarah, has asked 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 ...

Too Good To Be True is a complete novella-length story, originally selected as one of 15 books to be given away, free, on World Book Night, April 23rd 2016. It has been issued in Canada in an exclusive edition, available only from independent bookstores, for Canadian Independent Bookstore Day (April 29th, 2023).

More about Too Good to be True

Previously in Shetland

All seven series of the award-winning television drama, inspired by - but very different to - Ann Cleeves's Shetland mysteries, and starring Douglas Henshall as DI Jimmy Perez, are now available on DVD. US viewers can also watch it on BritBox or with Prime Video.

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.

Shetland series 7 - the 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 (region 1).
Series 3
An original 6-part drama
Available now from Amazon UK (region 2); and from (region 1).
Winner of two 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.
Series 4
An original 6-part drama
is available in the UK on DVD.
Nominated for three Scottish BAFTA Awards: one for best scripted television show, one for scriptwriter David Kane, and one for actor Douglas Henshall (DI Jimmy Perez).
Series 5
An original 6-part drama
DVD now available in the UK (Region 2) and in the USA (Region 1).
Series 6
An original 6-part drama
DVD now available in the UK (Region 2)
And Series 7
An original 6-part drama
DVD now available in the UK (Region 2)

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.

There's another interview with Ann about Shetland - the place, the books and the TV series - on the KCET website, where you can read the interview or listen to the sound recording.

Ann Cleeves answers five questions about Shetland - the TV drama, the books and the islands - on her publishers' website.

Visit Shetland mini-website for lots of background information, plus a collection of extracts, cast interviews and photos.

Blood on the Bannocks graphic

Ann Cleeves has written a murder mystery based around a traditional Shetland Sunday tea, especially for librarians and booksellers who would like to host their own murder mystery party. There's a script for four actors (with a guest appearance from detective Jimmy Perez), and - for a really authentic experience! - there are recipes for Shetland homebakes!

Look out for a 'Blood on the Bannocks' event near you - or find out how you can stage your own!

Wild Fire - the book and the gin

With Wild Fire, Ann completes her second Shetland quartet, and brings the series to a close.

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 is now available in both UK and US in a variety of formats: on publication it went straight to number one in the Bookseller's weekly ranking of best-selling e-books! It was also longlisted for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. It's a fitting send-off for Jimmy Perez - but 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: 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?"

Read more about Wild Fire

Ann Cleeves's Shetland

Ann Cleeves: 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.

Shetland was published by Pan Macmillan on 22nd October 2015; it is available from Amazon in hardback (ISBN: 978-1-5098-0979-0) or for Kindle.

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.

Read a profile of Ann Cleeves in The Scotsman.