Autumn 2013 brought a generous crop of new editions for fans of Ann Cleeves's detective novels - have you read them all?
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: over the summer they have quietly been releasing two previous series of detective novels by Ann Cleeves. The 'Inspector Ramsay' books feature 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).
To celebrate the George and Molly series now being available, Bello held a competition, whose prize is the exciting opportunity to be published in a short story ebook collection alongside Ann Cleeves. Elizabeth Campbell, Bello's Digital Production Editor, says: "Thanks to everyone who entered our George and Molly Palmer-Jones short story competition. We've been hugely impressed with the quality of the entries and look forward to announcing the winner on December 18th!" Read more about this, and all Ann's short stories.
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.
Dead Water, Ann Cleeves' fifth Shetland murder mystery featuring detective Jimmy Perez, is also now available in paperback. It picks up the story after Ann's initial quartet of Shetland novels, which ended with a shocking change in the life of detective Jimmy Perez. This is a time of change for the islands, too: they have done well from the oil boom, but what will the new era of renewable energy bring? Can Jimmy Perez make a new beginning in his own life? And can he find the murderer of journalist Jerry Markham? Read more about Dead Water here.
Finally, looking ahead, the New Year will bring a new case for Vera. Harbour Street is the sixth book in Ann Cleeves' series of crime novels about Vera Stanhope, played in the TV detective drama VERA by Brenda Blethyn - and it opens with a snowy Christmas scene! Read more about Harbour Street here.
More about Vera, the TV series and the books.
"I do love Vera!"
Return to Shetland
Shetland will be returning to our televisions as a six-part series (three pairs of episodes) with Douglas Henshall resuming the lead role as Detective Jimmy Perez. It will focus on three more of Ann's Shetland novels: Raven Black, adapted by Gaby Chiappe (The Paradise, Vera), Dead Water by David Kane (Rebus, Field of Blood, This Year's Love) and Blue Lightning adapted by Richard Davidson (Silent Witness, Eastenders).
Ann says: "I'm delighted that viewers will have another chance to explore these beautiful islands and to get to know my characters better."
For people who discovered Ann's Shetland crime novels through the television drama, there is a treat in store: and the best place to start is at the beginning, with Raven Black, the award-winning first book in the Shetland Quartet, set in the depths of a Shetland winter. The TV version was loosely drawn from the third book in the series, Red Bones, but as Ann says, "It's not faithful to the book but it's faithful to the atmosphere and spirit of the book. It's important that it's a good piece of TV rather than stick rigidly to the book."
Ann talks about Shetland in general and Dead Water in particular in a new interview with Wanderlust website. And if seeing the beautiful scenery of Shetland on television has given you the urge to see the islands for yourself, Visit Shetland have produced a downloadable leaflet with a map, to help you follow Jimmy's investigations through the Shetland Isles, and a commentary from Ann about the real and fictitious locations in her books.
Read more about Shetland: the TV series, the books, the islands - and the latest news about the cast of the new series.
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