Crime paying off at double for author Ann

Ann Cleeves in Shetland. Picture by Malcom Younger.
Ann Cleeves in Shetland. Picture by Malcom Younger.

A BOROUGH author is proving that crime really does pay, with a commission of an adaptation of a different novel.

Ann Cleeves, from Whitley Bay, is already enjoying small screen success with the hit drama Vera, which is currently showing its second series on ITV.

Starring Brenda Blethyn in the title role as DCI Vera Stanhope, the show has seen parts of North Tyneside and Northumberland beamed into homes across the country.

Vera moved Stateside at the end of April, when KPBS TV started transmission of the first series of crime dramas, bringing a blast of Northumberland freshness to the hot California spring.

And now Ann’s story of detective Jimmy Perez, set in the Shetland Islands, is making the transition from page to screen for a two-part drama on BBC One.

Red Bones is one of four books in her Shetland series, and will star acclaimed Scottish actor Douglas Henshall in the lead role.

The show is being produced by ITV Studios through BBC Scotland, and written by David Kane.

Ann said: “I feel very greedy having two TV adaptations on different channels at the same time. If I was a crime writer looking at me I would be so jealous, I am probably the most hated crime writer in the country.

“Douglas doesn’t look like my idea of Jimmy Perez, but he is a very good actor, and that’s what matters.

“Shetland is a pilot, so hopefully it will be well received and then the other books in the series will be filmed too.

“I’ve been invited to attend the read through as well, so I really am very lucky, it is all happening very speedily.”

Like the books, the powerful murder-mystery is set against the stunning Scottish backdrop of the Shetland Isles and centres on Detective Jimmy Perez.

Perez is recently widowed, a native Shetlander who has returned home after a long spell away. His bone-dry sense of humour and an idealistic desire to protect his beloved Shetland Isles from inevitable change make him a fascinating detective to watch at work.

Ann said: “Red Bones is about an archaeologist who discovers a set of human remains that aren’t as old as they perhaps should be.

“Then an elderly woman is shot on her land and Perez and his team are suddenly in the centre of two feuding families.

“I’m delighted that my old friends from ITV Studios have teamed up with the BBC to create a television adaptation of the Jimmy Perez book Red Bones. I couldn’t be in safer hands.” Filming for Shetland is expected to start in June.