A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows, (c) 2016, my copy Point Blank Books 2018 trade paper, mystery fiction, 344 pages – 2015 Arthur Ellis Award — Winner, Best First Novel
Detective Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune’s success has made him a poster boy for the U.K. police service. The problem is Jejeune doesn’t really want to be a detective at all; he much prefers watching birds.
Recently reassigned to the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh, located in the heart of Britain’s premier birding country, Jejeune’s two worlds collide when he investigates the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. His ambitious police superintendent foresees a blaze of welcome publicity, but she begins to have her doubts when Jejeune’s most promising theory involves a feud over birdwatching lists. A second murder only complicates matters.
To unravel this mystery, Jejeune must deal with unwelcome public acclaim, the mistrust of colleagues, and his own insecurities. In the case of the Saltmarsh birder murders, the victims may not be the only casualties.
I found this a little slow at first, but as it went on I became caught up in the quest for who did murder, and how could that person be caught? The new copper in a new environment was interesting. Note that there’s no need to be a birder in order to enjoy the book. I liked it a lot and have the next in the series, A Pitying of Doves, on hold at the library.
I am looking forward to reading this. A great topic and I like police procedurals. Great review.
I have now read the second book and have books 3 and 4 on order.
I know you read THE BIRDWATCHER by William Shaw, but have you ever read Ann Cleeves’ 8 book series about birdwatchers George & Molly Palmer-Jones, starting with A BIRD IN THE HAND? I never have, though I used to see copies in English bookstores.
Also, “Jejeune” is his name? I could see that leading to nasty comments or puns.
Jeff, it was SALT LANE I read, I’ll get to the BIRDWATCHER when the library flow slows. I haven’t read any Cleeves, though I started the ebook of THE CROW TRAP (the first Vera Stanhope) but only read a few pages before getting pulled away by other things.
Yes, Domenic Jejeune is his name. In the second book, an old friend calls him “JJ”.
I too like police procedurals but I mostly seem to watch rather than read them lately.
I’m still much more a reader than a watcher, Patti.
This sounds like a police procedural with some unique twists. I’m ordering it right now! Nice review!
Thanks, George, I hope you enjoy it. I just finished the 2nd in the series.
OK, just checked on Amazon and this is the first of six books to date in this series.
Yes, and one wonders how many the birder theme can support. I’ll find out, as, after reading the first two, I’ve ordered the next four. The library here has them all.
Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have any of them. Might get the first on Kindle from Amazon.