Book Review: A Siege of Bitterns

From Dundurn Press:

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 casuA Siege of Bitternsalties.

 

 

It took me a few chapters before I became interested in this book, although I enjoyed the bird lore and descriptions of the Norfolk marshes. His hero? Not so much. I felt as estranged as his sergeant from this taciturn man whose interior dialogue was the only clue to his personality. Sergeant Maik now, I felt comfortable and connected with almost at once.

However the complex plot and the layers of Jejeune’s character reeled me in and I was caught as thoroughly as by P. D. James.

Burrows isn’t up there with her yet, but I look forward to his next.

About the birding: Burrows includes lots of lore about birds in Norfolk, all interesting to me as one of my daily joys is watching the changing population at the backyard feeders. This watching is not birding which seems to involve sitting around in uncomfortable, cold shelters with powerful binoculars or haring off at the first tweet about the sighting of a rare bird to add to one’s life list. But it also includes environmental advocacy and attempts at protecting the habitat.

 

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