Ann Cleeves

December 4, 2008 at 5:48 pm (books, Mystery fiction, Uncategorized)

I had no reason to expect to have any touching moments at Bouchercon two months ago. Entertaining, enlivening, informative – yes. But touching?

frenchphoto1 And yet I had just such an experience, courtesy of Ann Cleeves.

raven Between panel sessions, Marge had met Cleeves and was telling her how much she had enjoyed her novel Raven Black. When I found the two deep in conversation, I stood to one side, awaiting the moment when I could greet the author myself. I had my opening line ready: “My name’s Roberta; I was with  the Smithsonian group that you met with last year.”

Marge gestured in my direction, and Ann Cleeves turned to face me. Before I got a word out, she had thrown her arms around me: “How nice to see you again!” I was amazed that she remembered me – but she did.

Cleeves is such a lovely person – warm, generous, and unaffected. She epitomizes the magnanimous spirit  we repeatedly encountered at Bouchercon.

She is also an award-winning author. While that fact is not an automatic guarantee of genuine talent, in her case, it is just that. (In addition to winning the Duncan Lawrie Dagger in 2006, Cleeves was recently inducted into the prestigious Detection Club, along with Martin Edwards.)

Raven Black was a terrific read. The novel took us deep into the Shetlands, a locale that I suspect is regarded even by many British themselves as remote and exotic. She created characters that are real and intriguing; their fate concerns us on the most basic, human level. I look forward to reading the sequel, White Nights, which is already out. (The third in the series, Red Bones, has a February 2009 publication date in the UK.)

Stuart Pawson, Ann Cleeves, and Martin Edwards

Left to right: Stuart Pawson, Ann Cleeves, and Martin Edwards

Ann Cleeves in Warkworth

Ann Cleeves in Warkworth

In the course of our tour last fall, Ann Cleeves took part in a panel discussion in Harrogate (along with Martin Edwards and Stuart Pawson) and met with us again in the lovely town of Warkworth, in Northumbria, where she lives.

Warkworth, in Northumbria

Warkworth, in Northumbria

This interview with Cleeves comes courtesy of Lost in Books blogger Lourdes Fernandez. Lourdes was with us on the tour. And yes – Mystery Lover’s England and Scotland is being offered again in 2009 by Smithsonian Journeys!


  1. kay said,

    Loved both of her books. As a knitter, I have always been fascinated by the Shetland and Fair Isles, which gave birth to a knitting tradition out of all proportion to their size.
    But are these remote islands about to go the way of Tuscany?

    I just finished a first novel by S.J. Bolton — another mystery– that is also set in Shetland. Called “Sacrifice,” its heroine/detective is an obstetrician who, in the course of trying to bury a dead horse, finds the body of a young woman whose heart has been cut out and also has three ancient runes carved into her skin. Have you read this one yet?

    • Roberta Rood said,

      I haven’t read it, Kay, but I know of it. Did you like it?

  2. Books to talk about – a personal view « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] Christine Falls – Benjamin Black The Tinderbox – Jo Bannister Raven Black and White Nights – Ann Cleeves What the Dead Know – Laura Lippman On Beulah Height, and other Dalziel & Pascoe novels – […]

  3. “If you lived on an island six miles long and two and a half miles wide, by the time you were ten you knew every inch of it.” – Red Bones, by Ann Cleeves « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] had the pleasure of meeting Ann Cleeves, first in England and then again at Bouchercon in Baltimore.Not long ago she very graciously arranged for her U.S. publisher, St. Martin Minotaur, […]

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