Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Ann Cleeves

Photo of Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves was born in Hereford, England on October 24, 1954. She married in 1977 and graduated from Liverpool University in 1979. She had various jobs during school but the most unusual may have been the two years she worked as cook in a bird observatory on Fair Isle, Scotland. She met her husband, Tim, while working at the observatory. Her early writing was done while living on the bird sanctuaries her husband managed, but Cleeves is quick to explain that her husband is the ornithologist, not her. In one of her early mysteries a bird watcher is killed with a brass telescope which may be a subtle comment on living in a remote bird sanctuary while raising small children.

What she writes: Ann Cleeves has been writing mystery fiction for twenty years and, while the books sold moderately well in her native England, few were published in the United States. While visiting the Shetland Islands, Cleeves realized it would be a perfect setting for a murder mystery. Initially she planned on writing a short story set in the Islands but it turned into the book Raven Black. This is the first title in the Shetland Quartet series featuring policeman Jimmy Perez who claims to be a descendant of a shipwrecked Spaniard from the Armada. Raven Black won the Dagger Award in 2006 and made Cleeves’ writing more widely available in this country. Cleeves offers readers the comfort of an old-fashioned plot of a locked room (island) mystery but, by showing the effects of violent crime on a tiny community, it appeals to contemporary readers.


List of works
Shetland Island series
  Raven Black (2006)  
  White Nights (2008)  
  Red Bones (2009)  
  Blue Lightning (2010)  
Other works
  The Sleeping and the Dead (2001)  


Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, 2006, for Raven Black.

What the critics say
"...intricate and engrossing, offering readers the pleasures of the traditional locked room/isolated island mystery." - Washington Post (November 16, 2008)
"Cleeves has found a way to serve up many of the pleasures of the traditional mystery in an unusual modern setting." - Spectator (January 30, 2010)
"'s perfect – an enclosed community, a dramatic landscape, incomers versus the established community..." - Sunday Times (April 20, 2008)


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