Ann Cleeves is one of the most popular and prolific British crime writers of recent years, and few fans of British mysteries will be unaware of her Shetland novels. That doesn't mean it's easy to keep them all straight, though.
In this post, we'll take a look at all of Ann Cleeves' Shetland books in order. For your convenience, we include brief descriptions to help you figure out where you left off, along with links with purchasing details.
All of Ann Cleeves' Shetland Books in Order
Shetland Book 1 | Raven Black
This popular series begins when a teenage girl's body is discovered near the home of a local outcast. Jimmy Perez investigates, and while suspicious initially falls on the outcast, the investigation soon turns into something no one expected.
Shetland Book 2 | White Nights
In White Nights, Inspector Jimmy Perez returns to investigate the death of a mysterious stranger. The man arrived in town and interrupted a gallery exhibition by bursting into tears and claiming he didn't know who is was or where he came from. The next day, he was dead. The eerie story is set against the backdrop of a Shetland summer, where the weather is never totally warm and the sun never totally sets.
Shetland Book 3 | Red Bones
When a young archaeologist discovers human remains, locals are at once fascinated – but are the remains as ancient as they seem? Or is this a modern murder mystery? Before long, an elderly woman is shot and DI Perez enters the picture. Are the events related? Who could be the culprit?
Shetland Book 4 | Blue Lightning
When a local celebrity is murdered, Inspector Jimmy Perez will uncover all manner of sordid secrets in the investigation. At the same time, he's brought his fiance home to meet his parents – so things are bound to get interesting.
Shetland Book 5 | Dead Water
When a journalist's body is found, outsider DI Willow Reeves is brought in to handle the case. To solve it, though, she'll need local knowledge – the kind Jimmy Perez is best-suited to provide. It turns out the journalist had left Shetland years before to pursue a writing career, leaving scandal in his wake. His return brings old secrets back up to the surface, and someone's not happy about that.
Shetland Book 6 | Thin Air
Soon after a visitor from London claims to have seen the ghost of a local child, she disappears. Are the two things connected? Is there a secret someone is trying desperately to cover up? Detectives Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves will investigate.
Shetland Book 7 | Cold Earth
After a landslide caused by torrential rain, Jimmy Perez realises there was a dark-haired woman in the wreckage. No one knew she had been in the danger zone, but he becomes obsessed with finding out who she was and how she died.
Shetland Book 8 | Wild Fire
An English family moves to the Shetland Islands, hoping to give their autistic son a better, calmer life. Unfortunately, a young nanny's body is found hanging near their home, and rumours abound of a relationship between her husband and the young woman. Jimmy Perez is called in to investigate, and his boss Willow returns to the island.
Will There be More Shetland Novels in the Future?
Ann Cleeves has previously stated that Wild Fire is the final book in the Shetland series. She has said that she wanted to finish the series while she still enjoyed writing about it, and before readers got bored.
With such a low population area (roughly 20,000 people), it does get a bit ridiculous to have TOO many murders. Even Midsomer (of Midsomer Murders) is a county made up of many villages and larger towns. That's a bit part of why the TV series often ventures to other areas.
Wondering About the Shetland TV Series?
Speaking of the TV series, you might be wondering what's going on with that. After all, it's been a while since we've seen new episodes. Was it a casualty of the pandemic? Did they finish the run?
Luckily, the answer to both questions is no. Season 6 of Shetland just finished filming in summer 2021, and Season 7 is in progress. They were delayed by COVID, but it IS coming back.
What's Your Favourite Ann Cleeves Shetland Novel?
For us, there's nothing quite as magical as the first book in a new series, so we tend to favour Raven Black. Let us know your favourite(s) in the comments!
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