Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder Mystery by Steve Burrows

Domenic Jejeune has just been appointed Police Inspector in their new home town, Saltmarsh.  He'd prefer to be a birdwatcher, but when you are naturally good at solving crimes you can't walk can away, can you?

Dundurn and Edelweiss allowed to me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th, so make a note. 

I chose this book for three reasons:  I like birding, I like learning about other countries and their environment, and I like meeting new crime detectives.  You learn a little bit about all of those by reading this story.

Domenic's first case here appears to be suicide.  However, the dead man is wearing odd clothing, chains, and has left no note behind.  Domenic's style is to use his brain to figure out why and how this happened.  (Similar to Christie's Poirot.)  While he's gathering hints and talking to everyone who knew the man, his partner is gathering evidence the old fashioned way:  Looking for it on the ground.

Domenic thinks he might have his killer figured out.  Imagine his astonishment when his suspected killer becomes the next victim!  He has two main players still left as suspects and he knows they are not telling the whole truth.  The professor is the hardest to crack, but he finally tells what he knows about the death.  Combined with that knowledge and the fact that the saltmarsh is dying from contamination,  Domenic is then willing to set a trap to see if his "bird" gets caught.

Domenic has to work with local politicians, gossip and innuendo, and move the lines of police work a little bit to solve this case.  I was surprised by the identity of the actual murderer.  This was a complex case of birders against industry, a bit of blackmail here and there, and a certain amount of apathy.  Following the line of inquiry took some doing, but Domenic made it.  Why not follow him on his journey and see how it turns it out?

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