By Ann Cleeves
December 1, 2016
The tide of earth had deposited debris, thrown it up on its way through the croft. Perez saw a bedhead, a couple of plastic garden chairs that must have been stored in the lean-to. And something else, bright against the grey wall and the black soil. A splash of red. Brighter than blood.
In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the road and sweeps down to the sea.
At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, DI Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash throuogh 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 Meditarranean 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. Within the house, the only clue is a wooden box that contains two photos, one of two small children and one of an elderly couple. And a handwritten letter, which begins: My dearest Alis…