I'm totally hooked on reading the Shetland Island mysteries by Ann Cleeves. I've churned through the first three in the series and have been highly entertained, and completely surprised, by each book. The protagonist in the books is Inspector Jimmy Perez. Perez is a native of the islands, which are part of the U.K. and celebrate cultural influences from both Scotland and Scandinavia. Cleeves neatly shows us the uniqueness of the Shetland Islands without letting that background dominate the story; and the story here is murder.
The three books in the series that I've read thus far are Raven Black, White Nights, and Red Bones. All three have great atmosphere, the right balance of suspense and character development, and characters to care about. If you like books by Louise Penny or Martha Grimes, I suspect you'll like these books, too. If you've never heard of Penny or Grimes, but enjoy reading a cozy-style mystery where the featured police detective uses his unique skills to puzzle through a murder, then you will likely enjoy these books as well. Great winter reading. Check 'em out!