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Visit Shetland!

The new series of Shetland, the powerful murder mystery drama series based on Ann Cleeves' novels and starring Douglas Henshall as Detective Jimmy Perez, is nearing its end. Two two-part stories have already been broadcast in full, adaptations of Ann's first Shetland mystery, Raven Black, and the latest book in the series, Dead Water, plus the first part of Blue Lightning adapted by Richard Davidson: all five episodes are available on the iPlayer. There's just one last episode of Blue Lightning still to come, on Tuesday April 15th at 9.00 pm. Meanwhile the Shetland News welcomes the arrival of murder and intrigue on Fair Isle - and the Radio Times warns you to listen out for an uncredited cameo appearance!

Shetland, the DVD

Episodes already broadcast remain available on the iPlayer until April 22nd - and even that isn't the end, because the whole story so far, series one and two, will be released on DVD on 21st April. That's four of Ann's novels: Red Bones, dramatised in two parts in season one, and Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning from season two. You can already place an advance order with Amazon (sorry, it's Region 2 only at the moment).

Christopher Aird, Shetland Executive Producer and BBC Scotland's Head of Drama, told the BBC Media Center: "It has been terrifically exciting to develop the second series of Shetland. I think people will find the show darker and more atmospheric." There's lot's more information on the BBC website, including cast interviews and photos - and visit the Writers' Room for Ann's reactions.

Even hardcore fans of the books will find that the TV show holds some surprises. Ann has been watching some previews, and says: "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."

Dead Water - US edition

Dead Water

But the books come first, and Ann's latest Shetland murder mystery featuring detective Jimmy Perez is Dead Water, now also available in the US. 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?

"...The tensions between those who wish to preserve their traditions and those who seek the opportunities of new technologies are subtly illustrated. Cleeves keeps readers guessing about the perpetrator's identity until the final pages."

Publishers Weekly

Ann's many fans will be delighted to hear that this is just the start of a second quartet of Shetland novels: Thin Air follows in the autumn of 2014. And Ann has signed a further four-book deal with publishers Pan MacMillan, so as well as completing the second quartet there are two more Vera Stanhope books to look forward to!

Read more about Dead Water.



Secrets of Soil

There was a brief glimpse of the background of Willow Reeves, a new character introduced in Dead Water in Secrets of Soil, a short story written by Ann Cleeves in collaboration with forensic soil scientist Lorna Dawson. It was read by Lesley Hart in front of an audience at the Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling, and broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday 22nd September 2013.


The sort of house that Jimmy Perez lives in

Visit Shetland with Ann

Ann talks about Shetland in general and Dead Water in particular in a new interview with Wanderlust website. Or you can share the photos from a Shetland trip with Ann on her FaceBook page: the picture (right) shows her outside a house in the Lodberrie very like the one that detective Jimmy Perez lives in! Click here to see the whole set.

To help you follow Jimmy's investigations through the Shetland Isles, Visit Shetland have produced a downloadable leaflet with a map, and a commentary from Ann about the real and fictitious locations in her books.

Or see a large image of the map on this site.



The Shetland Quartet

Raven Black was initially intended as a standalone novel - after all, how many murders could there be in Shetland? But the book was so successful, winning the first Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year, as well as numerous fans, that Ann wrote another Shetland mystery, and then another - until she had completed a quartet covering all four seasons and a tour of the archipelago.

The turning of the year's circle and the dramatic changes it has brought for Jimmy Perez don't mean the end of the story - Ann's latest book, Dead Water, brings new beginnings - and the start of a new quartet based on the four elements: earth, water, fire and air. For a fan's eye view of the original quartet, see The Book Resort, which gave the Shetland Quartet rave reviews during its Ann Cleeves Week; all the earlier books - plus an interview with Ann - are linked from the review of Blue Lightning. They also held an informal chat with Ann, in which she answers the question: "Tell us one thing about yourself that most of your fans don't already know?".

Ann has also written a short story, The Soothmoothers, which features Jimmy Perez. It was written for Radio 4's Red Herrings series, and broadcast on April 30th 2009, read by Marnie Baxter. Read The Soothmoothers exclusively on this web site.

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.

Read an interview about Ann Cleeves and the Shetland Quartet in The Times Online; or read a profile of Ann Cleeves in The Scotsman.