Farewell to Fair Isle and Shetland: Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves, for those who don’t know, has written two mystery series; both have been made into British TV shows and are available for streaming. One series features Vera Stanhope and is set in England; the other features Jimmy Perez and takes place in Shetland. I am very sad to say that Wild Fire brings the Shetland series of eight novels to a close. I will miss each and every regular in the books. The novels do not need to be read in order but I would recommend that you do so for maximum enjoyment.

In this last case, Jimmy, Willow and Sandy try to solve two murders; one, a nanny/mother’s helper and the other a “busybody” of the town. The reader gets to know two families well; each has children and has, consciously or not, made decisions around their parenting. These choices very much influence the course of events. Of course, Jimmy is a father too as is Duncan, another recurring character. How do they make their decisions about their caring for Cassie? Magnie, too, has a mother who was a particular kind of parent. Reading this novel, one realizes that there is subtext on the importance of “good enough” parenting and what can happen when children do not get what they need.

As always, the author writes with a keen sense of place. The reader can feel the flames of the fire, the fog, the sea and the town.

Some loose ends are tied up in this last book. While I wish these fictional friends well, I hope that perhaps Ann Cleeves will change her mind and keep writing about them. Highly recommended.

Thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur and to Ann Cleeves.

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