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Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves

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Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves - The Shocking ending of a Mystery Series

It is a sad thing to come to the end of reading a mystery series, especially one that I have enjoyed as much as the Shetland Quartet by Ann Cleeves. If it is truly a quartet and Blue Lightning is the final book.

This book is also difficult to review because the ending is so shocking that I don’t want to give any hint to it.

We begin with Detective Jimmy Perez and his fiancé, Fran, on a small plane going to Fair Isle to visit Jimmy’s parents for the first time. Jimmy is both excited and apprehensive about the visit, wondering if his parents will put pressure on them to move back to Fair Isle, and wondering what he himself really wants in his future with Fran. Very much in love, Fran wants the approval of Jimmy’s parents and wonders herself if she could make a home on this remote island so far away from London and the art world she was once part of. There is a grand party for the islanders to meet Fran and offer their best wishes to the couple. Jimmy’s parents happily accept Fran into their family and all seems well.

But, this is a murder mystery novel – so of course there is a murder in very short order. The island is the home of a bird study centre where resident and visiting ornithologists and support staff live and work. Each one of them has a history, and they have brought their past with them to the island. The first murder victim is the director of the centre, Angela, a celebrity bird watcher, with credit to her name for having discovered a rare bird at some time in the past.

Jimmy Perez is already on the scene and bad weather is keeping planes and ferries from the island, so it is Jimmy who must contain the crime scene and begin the investigation. Fran is understanding, more than ever before, exactly what it will be like to be the wife of a policeman – the job comes first. And Jimmy is wondering if he is prepared to give up police work, as he too sees that he is putting the demands of his job ahead of the needs of the woman who is about to be his wife.

As the secrets of the island residents – including Jimmy’s own father, are revealed and the rivalries between the bird watchers become more heated – another murder occurs. Is this one murderer or two? Why were these particular people murdered – by chance or purpose? And how will it all end?

Ann Cleeves has ended the series with a shocking conclusion. Perhaps the series is really at an end – or has she left the door open to continue in the future? We will have to wait and see – it’s a mystery!

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