Saturday, November 17, 2018

A Tiding of Magpies

A Tiding of Magpies is the 5th book in the Birder Murder mystery series by Steve Burrows. Released 6 Sept. 2018 by Oneworld,  it's 384 pages and available in paperback, ebook and audio formats.

This book, and the series in general, are built up gradually.  There's a lot of nuance with the returning characters and the setting and plot.  There's a fair bit of background which isn't really reviewed, but isn't absolutely necessary to enjoy the book.  The 'hook' of the series is that the main character, an expat Canadian police inspector living and working in rural(ish) England is an enthusiastic birder and environmentalist and it's fascinating how the author manages to entertwine all the disparate threads into a cohesive whole.  I also appreciated the fact that the book wasn't strident or preachy. 

This series is definitely not a thrill a minute roller coaster.  It's sedate.  I didn't find it slow at all, just steady.  It is on the long side for a procedural, but that allowed the author some leeway with development and plotting.

The entry point in this book for Jejune and co. is a call to investigate a grisly burned corpse.  I didn't find the descriptions overly graphic.  They are somewhat clinical, but there's not anything objectionable that would offend the average modern murder mystery/procedural reader.

All in all this is a methodically and thoughtfully well written series and I enjoyed this book as well as the previous ones. I wouldn't recommend reading this particular entry as a standalone, though it certainly is understandable by itself and the characters are well drawn and understandable enough that readers won't miss much of the plot if they've not read the earlier books.

Definitely would recommend this one to English procedural lovers.

Four stars.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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