Monday, January 9, 2017
"A Siege of Bitterns", by Steve Burrows
“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