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“Raven Black ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 29/04/2007

Raven Black
Ann Cleeves
St. Martin's, Jun 2007, $24.95
ISBN 0312359667

In Scotland's Shetland Islands, an unknown perp strangled teenage Catherine Ross; her corpse was found half buried by the snow. The locals including the police believe Magnus Tait killed her as circumstantial evidence is very convincing. He is a strange individual who was the last person known to have seen Catherine alive; besides which Magnus has a history when eight years ago he was the prime suspect in a girl's disappearance, but most locals feel he got away with murder.

The only person seemingly to have major doubts that the eccentric Magnus is the killer is Police Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez, who leads the investigation into the homicide. Not willing to rule out anyone as the culprit including Magnus, Jimmy begins to look closely at those who knew the victim as a family member, a friend, or intimately. The DI begins to uncover dark secrets that make the Shetlands seem even colder, but one of them has the darkest secret of all: being a killer hidden by a facade of lies., Perez (and readers) wonders which one?

Readers will quickly understand why Ann Cleeves won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award as she provides a strong Scottish police procedural that keeps the audience guessing until the climax of this enthralling whodunit. The entertaining story line provides a strong sense of place and season especially through the secondary cast. However, the novel is owned by the likable dedicated DI, who methodically battles the cold wintry weather and the increasingly colder suspects seeking to solve the murder mystery to the delight of the fans.

Harriet Klausner

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