I’ve recently finished Cold Earth, another book in Ann Cleeves’ Shetland series. A worthy addition to an excellent set of books but my post today is not a review of the book as much on the reflection that this was an uncorrected proof edition that somehow found its way into the local library.
The book looks like the finished product but with a few little twists. Whereas the back cover of a book normally tells you a bit about the plot – writing one of those blurbs is an art form in itself – this one seems to aim at telling commercial buyers what a good seller it is going to be. Also, while the standard of copy-editing seems to be fairly good in most of the books I read nowadays, this one has both a few obvious typos and perhaps a sentence or two that seems more clumsy than the standard of Cleeve’s normally elegant writing.
One of the things that I’m sure has made it through to the retail edition is the picture of Douglas Henschel on the front cover. He plays the part of protagonist Jimmy Perez wonderfully in the BBC adaptation but he is fair-haired. The novels, including this one, make a point of him being dark haired; as I recall, the first one in the series makes a point of his unusual looks (and surname) being the result of being descended from a Spanish castaway. The result is a good TV series but it isn’t really the same character as the books. Mind you, the same could also be said about Vera, based on another of Cleeves’ series. Brenda Blethyn is excellent in the lead role for that but not quite the outwardly lumpen, inwardly razor sharp person depicted in the written version.