Thin Air (Shetland, Book 6)
Thin Air is the next book in Ann Cleeves' Shetland series - which is now a major BBC One drama starring Douglas Henshall as detective Jimmy Perez.
A group of old university friends leave the bright lights of London and travel to Unst, Shetland's most northerly island, to celebrate the marriage of one of their friends to a Shetlander. It's mid-summer, a time of light nights and unexpected mists. But late on the night of the wedding party, one of them, Eleanor, disappears - apparently into thin air. The following day, Eleanor's friend Polly receives an email. It appears to be a suicide note, saying she'll never be found alive. And then Eleanor's body is discovered, lying in a small loch close to the cliff edge.
Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves are dispatched to Unst to investigate. Before she went missing, Eleanor claimed to have seen the ghost of a local child who drowned in the 1920s. Her interest in the ghost had seemed unhealthy - obsessive, even - to her friends: an indication of a troubled mind. But Jimmy and Willow are convinced that there is more to Eleanor's death than they first thought.
Is there a secret that lies behind the myth? One so shocking that someone would kill - many years later - to protect?
Ann Cleeves' striking new Shetland novel explores the tensions between tradition and modernity that lie deep at the heart of a community, and how events from the past can have devastating effects on the present.
Thin Air has been shortlisted for the fourth annual Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year (formerly the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year.) The shortlist of six was chosen by an independent panel of readers from a longlist of 55 books, and the winner will be announced at a gala dinner on Saturday 12 September as part of the Bloody Scotland programme, bringing crime readers and authors together to celebrate the prize at the Stirling-based festival. Ann says: "I'm absolutely delighted that Thin Air has been shortlisted for the Scottish Crime Novel of the year. Thanks to the judges for considering it and to Bloody Scotland for organising the competition."
unbothered by the noise, which had set Willow’s nerves jangling, or by the man’s words. ‘Because I understand that Eleanor and Lowrie were very close when they were at university. They had a relationship, didn’t they? So perhaps it would be natural for her to go to him with her questions.’ Longstaff gave a harsh little laugh. ‘Nell had lots of relationships when she was at university. The way she tells it, she worked her way through the whole dramatic society. Lowrie might have thought they had
‘I’ll see you then.’ But he thought she might have cut off the conversation before he’d even finished speaking. Willow Reeves answered her mobile so quickly that he wasn’t ready to speak to her and he wasn’t quite sure what to say. ‘Jimmy? Are you there?’ Amused rather than irritated by his failure to speak, when he’d been the one to make the call. ‘Do you have anything useful?’ ‘It sounds as if Eleanor’s company wasn’t doing as well as her friends led us to believe. Maybe this ghost show was
for a moment to catch her breath and then continued talking. ‘I thought Eleanor was hoping to see Lizzie herself. You could tell that she wanted a bairn. Later, at the party in the hall, she was all over the baby.’ ‘So you went to Sletts that afternoon,’ Sandy said. Perhaps all this talk of babies was making him uncomfortable. ‘And Eleanor was expecting you.’ ‘Nothing much happened,’ Vaila said. ‘There were no cameras or anything, but Eleanor had this little recorder and asked me to speak into
choice.’ They followed the police officers outside. The female detective drove off and Perez and Lowrie set off along the beach towards Voxter. Polly wondered what they might be saying to each other and thought again that if anyone was to find Eleanor’s killer, it would be Jimmy Perez. Marcus and Ian wandered back into the house, to their laptops and their phones. ‘You must be desperate to get away,’ Caroline said to Polly as soon as they were alone. ‘You’ve had a dreadful week. I’ve only sat
have a Monica Leaze in the gallery, even though he knows it’s unlikely to sell at the price he’s put on it. That’s Freya, Monica’s daughter. Monica was happy to hang it here because she says the girl was conceived in Shetland. She made it sound like a kind of joke.’ In the car back to the ferry terminal Perez was on the phone to Sandy. More requests. ‘Can we rouse someone at NorthLink and Flybe and see if Monica Leaze left Shetland on the day of the murder. Or the day after. The Sunday. It’d