Shetland author Ann Cleeves: “I might kill off Jimmy Perez”

Is time running out for the wind-swept DI?

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Ann Cleeves has written 30 books over the last 30 years, and among her most popular creations is Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez in the Shetland series. Douglass Henshall has won legions of fans with his portrayal in the BBC adaptation, but they might be in for a tough time.

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“Jimmy was created because I thought there would just be one book,” Cleeves told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. “It seemed like it would be stretching credibility to kill off too many people in Shetland, with its small population.”

“I was going to do just four, just one quartet, but it grew. There will be just one more Shetland book after Cold Earth. And then the story is told.”

Then she dropped the bombshell.

“I might kill him off.”

Cleeves said this with a laugh, so it might not have been serious, but Henshall could read the writing on the wall.

“The life of an actor right there! You think everything’s going fantastic, then they just kill you.”

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Well, the TV series has diverged from the books, so there may be hope yet. As for book-Jimmy, maybe it’s time to get a ticket off the island?