Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers to flush out suspects in the brutal murder of a renowned ecological activist.
2015 Arthur Ellis Award — Winner, Best First Novel • Globe and Mail 100: Best Books of 2014 • 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize — Shortlisted, Best Mystery
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.
Steve Burrows has pursued his birdwatching hobby on five continents. He holds degrees from York, Dalhousie, and the University of Hong Kong, and is the author of a number of articles on environmental issues. A former editor of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Magazine, Steve now lives with his wife in Oshawa, Ontario.
. . . with its bird-focused cop and crimes, it has also located a natural audience: besides environmentalists in general, the novel’s basic passion will ring bells for the world’s considerable contingent of bird-watchers.
A murder plot built around birdwatching doesn’t, at first, seem plausible or even possible. But Oshawa author Burrows pulls it off in a dazzling debut novel sure to make the shortlist for next year’s Arthur Ellis. . . Riveting from first page to final line.
Finally, a solid, well-constructed murder mystery that happens to involve a subject with which many mystery readers might not be familiar.
Filled with clues dead ends . . . and blinding moments of “Eureka!”
The debut of a major new Canadian talent.
Sound plot and well-drawn characters within the police and from all sides of Norfolk's ecological issues make for a most entertaining read.
While Jejeune may not be too enthusiastic about his profession, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about Burrows’ first mystery, and I’m looking forward to more fowl play in the future.
This is one of the most delightful, old-fashioned mysteries of recent years.