With over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide, Ann Cleeves is one of Britain’s most successful crime fiction novelists. Her bestselling books are loved in print and on screen: both the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series are now major TV adaptations on ITV and BBC One respectively.
Cold Earth is Cleeves’ 30th novel, and once again features the enigmatic Jimmy Perez, brought to life in BBC One’s drama series by Douglas Henshall, as he struggles to uncover a dark secret buried on Shetland.
In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick–Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea. At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path.
Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity. Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez feels bound by duty - and something more powerful - to find out who she was, and how she died.