Well I definitely didn’t see that coming. I’m really enjoying the Shetland books and I can’t wait to read book #3. The main reason why I gave this four stars though is that the ending this time didn’t really work for me. I think having a character give a “dump” of facts on Jimmy at the end just didn’t work. I also wanted to say really that’s what this was all about when we get to the why behind the murders. I don’t know. It just didn’t work. Though the setting of Shetland during this time of the year when the sun never really sets sounded oppressive after a while. Per usual, Cleeves can spin a scene and does a great job with this. I was surprised though with what she did with some of the characters (no spoilers).
“White Nights” takes place 6 months after the events in the last book. Jimmy Perez and Fran…are something. They spend a lot of time together and Jimmy is wondering about more with her. When he takes Fran to an exhibition of her art next to local artist Bella Sinclair, he thinks tonight may be the night where they move to a different stage of their relationship. However, the night ends up weird when a ton of people don’t show and an English man no one knows shows up sobbing in front of a painting. When Jimmy tries to find out what is wrong, the man claims he has no memory. When he disappears, the man is found later, hung. It appears like a suicide until Jimmy investigates. With another murder on the island, Jimmy has to call in DI Taylor again. The two men try to track down who killed this unknown man and what it may have to do with a man who went missing decades earlier.
Jimmy was a bit out of sorts in this one. One wonders if it was because of the “white nights” or Fran at times. When he focuses on the case though he starts to put together the why behind the first murder and then a second that happens. I liked the progress of his relationship with Fran and his daughter. And I did laugh at his jealously with a local writer who just seems really off to me. I wonder if he will appear in future books.
Fran was a bit frustrating at times. I think once she decided to go all in with Jimmy though things changed. Her still not knowing what their relationship is, but still being protective of it and doing what she can to help Jimmy out as he tries to put pieces together was interesting. I don’t really recall Cleeves having her DI’s in relationships/married and working out cases with their significant others really. Ramsay did towards the end there, but it wasn’t til the last book really. I wonder if you can count Matthew Venn? I only wonder since he did what he could to keep his husband out of the case in the first book. I haven’t read book two yet. Okay, I digressed long enough, back to this book.
The other characters have a lot to hide in this one. But really what I enjoyed was Cleeves tapping into something that is pretty unique to smaller communities. People had some ideas about things, but didn’t come right out and say it. And not to hide things, it is just what was and is done.
The ending was a bit lackluster though IMHO. As I said, one character doing an info dump about what happened and why had me going okay……
But the book promises something new with Jimmy and Fran. Cannot wait to read the third book.