A Siege of Bitterns

A Siege of Bitterns

Book - 2013
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Univ of Toronto Pr
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.
Domenic Jejeune is a reluctant police hero but an enthusiastic birdwatcher. After he's promoted to a post in the heart of Britain's birding country, his first case involves the murder of an environmentalist. Torn between loyalties to his job and his hobby, Jejeune faces mistrust from his colleagues and self-doubt as he works to solve the case.

Publisher: Toronto : Dundurn Press, 2013
ISBN: 9781459708433
Branch Call Number: FIC Burro
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 21 cm


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sapl3 Apr 09, 2020


Morse is an opera aficionado (primarily Wagner); Dalgleish is a poet; and Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is a birder. In this first of a new series (Birder Murders), Jejeune, newly posted to Saltmarsh in Norfolk, investigates the murder of Cameron Brae, an ecological activist. He is found hanged in the marsh area near his home. Jejeune thinks that a feud over bird watching lists has led to Brae’s death. The very clever solution to this murder has me a fan of Burrows, without question.

JessicaGma Apr 05, 2018

Whomever mentioned it was rather like a Midsomer Murders entry is quite right - it's not the greatest murder mystery I have read, but entertaining enough. I had to chuckle over the information about the "that's the wrong habitat for that species" for one of the puzzles. It's decent, and on the fluffier side of things, so if you like a non-Noir, go for this.

Aug 06, 2017

I found it hard not to like this book even though I found the plot confusing, and in some sections, it "bogged down" with too many details about the ecology of marshes. (Dear authors, as a reader I want to be entertained with a story, not schooled in the minutiae of marsh biology, or hit over the head with environmentalism. Believe me, I'm already worried about the state of our natural environment.) Still, I did like reading about the different birds and was able to maintain interest in the mystery, as there were many characters who could have been responsible.

May 01, 2017

Engrossing & complicated with lots of twists & turns. Reminds me of Midsomer Murders series. Likeable main charactèrs. I think title put me off because I didn't know what bitterns were nor what siege meant in combination with bitterns. Would appeal to environmentalists. Intèresting to learn about birds.

Oct 19, 2015

Enjoyed the collective nouns-particularly 'a charm of goldfinches' and the birding information. The initial murder made sense but some of the later parts were a little over the top. The characters were good and the story overall was believable but the writing seemed a little uneven and staggered a bit occasionally.

Jul 06, 2015

A unique murder mystery whose theme is birdwatchers/watching. It features a young Canadian police detective working in England who is also an avid bird watcher.

Mar 29, 2015

Tedious. The resolution is anticlimactic. Would not recommend this book.

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