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  • Location: Shetland islands, Whalsay

Red Bones (Shetland 3)

Red Bones (Shetland 3)

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: Any Ann Cleeves title is good to read as it depicts  Shetland so well – this time we are off to Whalsay, Symbister and Jarlshof to name but a few.

  • ISBN: 978-0330448260
  • Genre: Crime

What you need to know before your trail

An island shrouded in mist and a community with secrets buried in the past . . .

A young archaeologist discovers a set of human remains at Whalsay and the island settlers are intrigued. Is it an ancient find – or a more contemporary mystery? Then an elderly woman is shot in a tragic accident in the middle of the night.

The sparse landscape and the emptiness of the sea have bred a fierce and secretive people. There are two feuding families whose envy, greed and bitterness have lasted generations.

Is the mist and isolation of the island hiding a killer and if so can Detective Perez get to the heart of the mystery?

Travel Guide

This time the Shetland action moves to the island of Whalsay which is a nice ferry journey over from either Laxo or Vidlin – its the landscape that Sandy Wilson grew up with and where he feels most at home. There is a lot behind this and other novels so a good place for research is shetland-museum

The setting of the island is apt for the theme of the novel – rebirth and discovery of the past. The finding of some human remains are horrific even though there is a dig taking place on the island – these bones could be more  recent and so the landscape takes on a rather more sinister tone. The soil is described in evocative detail – the earth here is everything –

She could smell the soil, felt it damp through her sweater where she must have propped herself on her elbow. She trowelled away the soil from the object….

This small section of the Shetland isle, its isolation and how it makes people feel, their connection to this land and the people on it, the history of the many families across generations and the small cosmos of flora and fauna are crafted carefully. You can tell Ann loves Shetland and the animals and various locales. Even the crofters cottages are delicately recreated –

“It was a square bungalow like the traditional croft houses, but made of wood so that it looked Scandinavian with windows in the roof.”

And the name of Lindby – definitely Swedish (not real though) although the Jarlshof references are. Ann seems to have been inspired by landscapes far and wide, focusing on the raw and remote nature of it and those who live there and how they live.

Streetview Maps

1) Symbister harbour
2 ) Symbister Hanseatic booth?

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information:

Twitter: @AnnCleeves

Facebook: /anncleeves

Web: anncleeves.com

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