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redbonesScotland’s Shetland Islands are home to a hearty, taciturn people generally known for raising horses and catching fish. But in the world as seen by Ann Cleeves, the islanders are also known for envy and murder.

The intrigue begins when a young anthropologist uncovers discolored human remains at a dig site on the isolated island of Whalsay. The red bones are obviously old, but just how far back do they date? While official lab results are pending, a crusty elderly widow who lives nearby is shot and killed by a neighbor illegally hunting rabbits at night. There’s nothing to assume the woman’s death is any more than an accident but Inspector Jimmy Perez senses that something is amiss. When a second death occurs, the sense of mystery deepens and the diligent Perez, an outsider in the eyes of the locals, joins his deputy, a recent police recruit who hails from the island, in ferreting out the story behind the story.

Winner of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award, Red Bones is rich in local color and steeped in the history of ancient trade routes and alliances and the more recent events of the last great war. All of which, of course, come into play as Perez links the past to the present and follows faded footsteps to the solution.

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