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"Raven Black" BOOK REVIEW and Discussion workshop 27th Jan 2023




Well, we sure have good news with the donation of nearly 2000 books via Carmel Shute of ‘Sisters in Crime’. Now being catalogued into the FMI collection. Many of these new editions are by female authors. This corresponds well to my current reading of Ann Cleves book Raven Black. Many of you will be familiar with Ann Cleeves work as it is dramatized for television. Her series based in NE England and staring Brenda Blethyn as Vera a senior detective, is one genre while Raven Black is set in Shetlands with Jimmy Perez as lead character also a senior detective. As well as weather and scenery, the Viking culture festivals colour the storyline.

The story circulates around the disappearance and killing of two girls several years apart and as Perez investigates against the backdrop of the unique environment of the Shetland Islands and established communities versus the newly arrived migrants. Both victims are female have names beginning with C and have lived in same house at some point in time. When a third girl goes missing things become frantic for Perez and his colleagues. One suspect is an old man living alone who the locals strongly believe is guilty of first girls’ disappearance and when second girl is found dead suspicion turns immediately to him. He lives with a Raven he keeps in a cage. Other scenes in the work include ravens hence the title of the book.

One factor in book is attention to mothers and several of the characters explored are or have mother figures which are instrumental to the plot. The novel explores characters psych and emotions thru first person ruminations and interface with mothers.

Another point of interest is the references to the work of poet Robert Frost in the novel. Frost lived from 1874 to 1963 was awarded Pulitzers, congressional gold medals and was a state poet laureate as well as being nominated for the Nobel prize numerous times and because one of the victims is working on school project which invokes Frosts poem fire and Ice it becomes that ole crime fiction trope –a clue. A nice literary allusion

From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those that favor fire But if it had to perish twice I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice is also great [Robert Frost]

Well worth a read is my opinion and as there are more in series, I look forward to summer reading of them.

Neil Farren (FMI Committee) Thanks to Wikipedia

A library workshop discussion group on "Raven Black" will be held at FMI Library reading room on January 27th 2023 at 1 pm. Bookings not necessary, all FMI members are welcome to attend.

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