In Search of Jimmy Pérez

Lerwick, Shetland

I have never read a book by Ann Cleeves, but that will change in the year 2021. Even so, I feel that I know her through Shetland, the TV adaptation of her books Red Bones, Raven Black, Dead Water, and Blue Lightning.

“Red Bones,” the first episode of the series Shetland, which stars Douglas Henshall as Detective Inspector Jimmy Pérez was dramatized in 2013 by David Kane for BBC Television.

Many of the scenes were in the car traveling across Shetland. Viewers were entertained by the story, with the dramatic addition of the Shetland landscape that kept us on the cliffs or overlooking the mercurial ocean.

We traveled to Shetland, like many others, because of a TV Series that offered history, adventure, mystery and the intrepid Jimmy Pérez

We found Jimmy’s home, after taking a circuitous ocean pathway where the sound of birds drifted on the crisp wind from the ocean. It felt like we had been there before. Of course, we had – with Jimmy, Tosh and Sandy.

“According to Visit Shetland, tourism has increased by 43 per cent since 2006 when the first book was published, and I’m certain that much of that is down to the magnificent cinematography. As the oil industry in the islands has become less important, cultural tourism – music, textiles, archaeology – has filled the gap, and the films bring people to see the house where Jimmy Perez lives and to explore the locations, the places where victims have been found.” Radio Times

Ann Cleeves is an English crime-writer, who studied English at the University of Sussex. Her destiny was not to complete her formal education. Instead she dropped out and chose an education that would take her as a cook to the Fair Isle bird observatory. She was also an auxiliary coastguard and probation officer as well as a library outreach worker and child care officer. These experiences prepared her to create crime stories that were authentic and full of human emotion and heroism.

Please join me as we search for Jimmy Pérez.

That was the way things worked in Shetland. It wasn’t necessarily significant.People were related in complicated and intimate ways. Coincidence couldn’t be allowed to appear sinister.” Ann Cleeves, Raven Black

A writer loses possession of her work as soon as it’s reaches its audience. Each reader brings his own experience and prejudice and imagination to the work. Television adaptation just goes one step further, and the novelist has to learn to let go.” Ann Cleeves

38 Comments

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Your photos are gorgeous Rebecca. So is your mind and soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Cindy. I’m traveling virtually these days. Thank goodness for our cameras!

      Like

  2. Ah Jimmy Perez. I saw the title and thought… Jimmy perez, that can’t be as in Shetland BUT it is. We are big fans. Great to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      Oh Shehanne, I knew you would be a great fan of Shetland. Everywhere we went on Shetland, we met someone who was in the series. The ferry terminal personnel all had parts. They even told us what they did – like walking across the room, or along the route to the ferry. Some even had speaking parts like “hello” and “the ferry will be leaving soon.” We stayed at the fabulous Rockvilla Guest House – Ancona and Jeff were amazing hosts. They told me how many of their guests come to follow the Shetland craft trail. One group decided that they would knit, crochet etc in the living room and watch Shetland and Jimmy. Would love to attend the big event on New Years – the Fire Festival aka Up Helly Aa.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that would be something sure enough. Brilliant that so many Shetland folks even got a wee speaking part in the series. Oh yes we are big fans.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoyed the video, particuarly the quotes. My husband and I are fans of the “Shetland,” so it was fun to learn some backstory and context.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother says:

      As you know, according to the TV Series and books, Shetland seems to be a place where murders are rampant. We were told that there hasn’t been a murder in Shetland for over 30 years. Orkney had more of those crimes than Shetland – again as told by the locals. You see, Orkney had a murder that was much more recent – twenty years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t that interesting! Along the same lines, my husband and I joke that there is no way we would want to live in the Midsommer area of England.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        I laughed out loud when I read you comment.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Klausbernd says:

    Dearest Rebecca,
    unfortunately, we never made it to the Shetlands. The farthest north in the UK we visited were the Orkneys inspired by two novels. We found both Amy Sackville’s “Orkney” and Amy Liptrot’s “The Outrun” so inspiring that we visited the Orkneys in 2016 and 2017 and liked the landscape and culture very much.
    We got all of Ann Cleeves’s novels you mention. Unfortunately, we haven’t read them yet. Thanks a lot for inspiring us to read them. As soon as our dear Master has finished “Any Human Heart” by William Boyd we’ll start reading her books. Maybe then, when travelling is safe again, we’ll go to the Shetlands. We loved the very north of Scotland very much, why not going to the north as the north can be here.
    With big HUGs to you, Don and Thomas
    🤗🤗🤗
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for the introduction to Amy Sackville and Amy Liptrot. I found both of the books on Kindle and am have placed them on my stack of books to read in 2021. I find that books have magical powers that entice us to travel, to explore, to experience the story. One of the Shetland series started on the ferry between Aberdeen and Lerwick, so Thomas organized the same overnight ferry trip. We explored the ferry and located the places where the scenes took place. One day we want to return to Shetland. Wouldn’t it be great to meet up! Sending many hugs to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca ❤
        what a bril idea meeting up on the Shetland islands.
        I have a zoom-meeting which will be recorded for a congess tomorrow. It's about the language of dreams. I suppose that could be my topic for TTT after `ugliness´.
        By the way, do you know that TTT stands also for `Titel, Thesen, Temperamente´ (title, thesis, temperaments), one of the best cultur magazines in the German Television? TTT is the logo of this programme.
        With lots and lots of love to you, Don and Thomas
        🤗🤗🤗🤗
        Klausbernd 🙂 and the rest of
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        Oh, Klausbernd! That would be a wonderful discussion. You have the best ideas. Do you remember when you gave me insight into my recurring dreams about houses and windows? It was when I first came to your blog several years ago. Your posts are an invaluable source of inspiration and knowledge. I checked out the links to TTT. How wonderful to have the same TTT as this amazing magazine/TV. So we are off to Shetland when travel comes back to our world…. Sending many hugs and love to my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

        Like

  5. I love that quote from Cleeves at the end of your beautiful post.
    Have you seen all the Shetland shows? I’ve only seen one. Perhaps I should revisit it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I have seen every one of the Shetland shows and have become Vera Stanhope “fans” as well. A friend recommended that I watch Shetland – that was the beginning of my interest in Shetland. I had never heard of Ann Cleeves before and only explored her books when I saw “based on the novels of Ann Cleeves” in the opening scenes. My first interest was the scenery until I started to listen to the narrative. Isn’t it interesting how a story gains a huge following.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ms Frances says:

    What beautiful and extraordinary photography, I enjoyed every second. It is good to learn about authors and subjects that are new to me. I have never been interested in crime stories, but perhaps I should look into some by the author mentioned here–the author and the location and Jimmy Perez! ! !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for joining me in Lerwick, Frances. Our tour guide, Sarah McBurnie, was truly remarkable and made our stay in Shetland unforgettable. She introduced us to the craft trail and jewelry guilds, the remote areas, nature, archeology and history. Every where we went, we received a warm welcome. We came as tourists and left as friends. I hope one day to return.

      Like

      1. Ms Frances says:

        I hope you can return⚘🌿☘🦋🌹🌷🥀🌱💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Paul Andruss says:

    Not a big crime reader so I do not know the character, books or series, but Shetland has an otherworldly beauty and you music accompanying the Video presentation is as always superb- a perfect marriage.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I’m not a big crime reader either, Paul, but Ann Cleeves has a very different approach to her stories. She also writes Vera Stanhope detective books (stories located in Newcastle area) which have also been made into a TV series staring the brilliant Brenda Blethyn. The announcement came in, just recently, for both Shetland and Vera Stanhope – they are coming back in a new season. Thank you for your kind comments – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paul Andruss says:

        Actually Rebecca I have seen one of the Brenda Blethyn episodes and it was really good. Thanks for the info.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        I especially enjoyed her performance in “Pride and Prejudice”. And she appeared in an episode of “Yes, Minister.”

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Another stunning landscape from the top of the world! Beautiful video, Rebecca!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am so glad you joined me, Mary Jo. In my exploration of Shetland, I came across this website about poetry from Shetland. I want to look into how the dialect influences poetry. I continue to learn and learn and learn. Sending many many hugs! https://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/poetry

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        I need a translator! 🤗🤗🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        So do I! On the search – will keep in touch to let yo know what happens next! Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. J.D. Riso says:

    Looks like my kind of place. Remote and mysterious. I admire writers who drop out of formal school and choose a life experience education instead. Their work is so much richer, in my opinion. Magnificent photos. Thank you, Rebecca.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      You would love Shetland, Julie. Shetland is a group of about 100 islands, fewer than 20 of them inhabited. What I am interested in exploring is Shetland’s form of agriculture which is crofting. I understand that each croft has a few acres of arable land and the right to graze sheep on the “scattald,” or common grazings. This is just the quick explanation. Crofting has a rich history that goes beyond Shetland. Thank you so much for joining me in Lerwick. Always appreciate your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Meg says:

    What a unique and rather mysterious place this is Rebecca! It’s the perfect destination for this time of year as we approach winter…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Meg! I agree – Shetland is a mysterious place with many legends and mythologies. Winter has a special place in the stories of Shetland. It is said that Beira, the Queen of Winter, has a firm hold on the country by raising storms during January and February thus preventing greenery to emerge. She reminds me of the Witch in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful pictures….love Lervick!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I do too! We live in a beautiful world. There is so much history in every step that is taken.

      Like

  12. Jean-Jacques says:

    Beautiful photograph, that have a dreamy quality, sufficiently so as to want to travel to Shetland, to discover it personally.
    Thank you, Rebecca, for this Shetland introduction!, as well as to Ann Cleeves and her Jimmy Pérez. Sounds like interesting reads.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      The series has marvelous landscape scenes, Jean-Jacques. Our visit was even more amazing than I expected so yes, you must travel there (when travel comes back – sigh) Ann Cleeves first went to Shetland quite by accident when she worked at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory there. This inspired a lifelong love of the islands, leading to the novel Raven Black, which won her first big award. One choice led to many opportunities.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Jean-Jacques says:

    Naturally I couldn’t help but order the Black Raven book, as you might have guessed !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      We will read it together!

      Liked by 1 person

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