Book #1, in Birder Murder Mystery
“A Siege of Bitterns” is a dazzling birder murder mystery set in the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh at the heart of Britain’s birding country. Whether you are a birder or not this combination of bird-watching and murder is a fun and engaging light read.
This book is a pretty quick read with little blood and no graphic scenes. We tag along with the main character, Detective Chief Inspector Dominic Jejeune, a Canadian, considered an outsider by his colleague of the UK Police Service as he follows a highly publicized case. But our intrepid Dominic would rather be bird-watching than investigating the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. The pace is rather slow with burst of activities through the marshes and forests that leads in circles and off the beaten path. Along the way we do learn interesting tidbits about birds and how ruthlessly competitive the birding community is. The novel also provides quite an education on salt-marshes and their contamination.
The story is original, well-constructed, clever and exciting. The characters are real, quite believable and overall well-rounded. The author has also set beautifully an atmospheric scene including depictions of the ecosystem and its biodiversity. “A Siege of Bitterns” is a smart murder investigation that peels its layers upon layers till it reaches its conclusion. Being the first in a series we know from the outset there is more to come….good start.
My thanks to Dundurn Publishers for sending me a copy of this book
Sorry for the brief reviewing silence!! This summer has been so busy! Hope everyone is doing well. What have you all been up to? While I haven't been reviewing much the past month or so, I have been reading, a lot. So basically I wanted to check in and say hi and let you know I have a bunch of reviews coming your way this week!
This is not the type of story I fancy but since I loved all the books written by Catherine McKenzie so far I had to give this one a go… In a nut shell this is a story of an accidental death that leads to secrets revealed and second thoughts. It is also a story that explores issues of trust, loss and betrayal of two families.
How well do you really know your spouse?
The story moves along and develops via three points of views and said in alternate chapters: by Claire, the dead man’s wife, by Jeff the dead man himself who strangely enough was killed on page 8 and by Trish, who may or may not be Jeff’s mistress. The language is vivid and lyrical and the writing reflects the complexity of the modern marriage. Each player tells about each other, reveals their inner thoughts and especially wants our sympathies. We see their struggle to weigh desire against obligation and what is right versus what is wrong. By the end we wonder: did Jeff and Trish have an emotional affair? By then, it is up to us to decide….
“Hidden” is a complex and emotional story but is short of being fantastic and is not especially unique. I fast became bored and contemplated abandoned it many times, it was simply not a story I enjoyed or even liked the direction it was going to. Although I laboured through many pages to keep up with it I did managed to see the end.
This was not my Catherine McKenzie favourite although it may be yours.