Cleeves, Ann - 'Thin Air'
A group of friends from London travel to the island of Unst - the most northerly Shetland island. Caroline and Lowrie have recently married and have travelled to Lowrie's home with their friends Eleanor, her husband Ian and Polly with her boyfriend Marcus for the usual Shetland celebration "hamefarin". During the dancing, Eleanor steps outside and disappears. A search is mounted as the island can be dangerous to newcomers due to the rapid incoming tides, sudden fogs and lethal paths. Her body is eventually found and a murder investigation with Jimmy Perez is launched. His boss, Willow Reeves is nominally in charge but she relies on Jimmy's local knowledge and ability to intuitively work his way through the maze of evidence and misinformation.
Polly increasingly feels isolated and starts to question her own sanity as she becomes obsessed with the local legend of a drowned child, Peerrie Lizzie. The ghost of the child is reported to appear to people to foretell a pregnancy and Polly is convinced that she saw the ghost child on the night of the hamefarin.
The intricate relationships of the circle of friends is slowly uncovered by the police who find that they all have secrets and that the friendship was not quite as solid as it first appeared.
This is the latest in the Shetland series featuring Jimmy Perez, who is still haunted by the loss of his wife, Fran, and occupied with the care of her daughter, Cassie, for whom he is now responsible. One of the strengths of the series is that the experiences and interests of the central characters are drawn beautifully but do not detract from the storyline in each book.
THIN AIR is a very good read and thoroughly recommended. Even though it is part of a well established series, I am sure new readers will be able to enjoy it as a stand-alone.
Susan White, England