Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves

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Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It was a mistake for Charlie Todd to announce to the Gillibry Bird Observatory Trust that he was going to sell the island. He was murdered shortly afterwards. A good read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224/7h1m Date: June 1987
Publisher: Century
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0712616706

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Charlie Todd, children's author and owner of Gillibry Island on which was based the Gillibry Bird Observatory Trust, announced that he was going to sell the island. He was a man prone to passing enthusiasms and it seemed that his keenness for birding and ringing was definitely waning. He was talking - and seemingly expecting that the committee of the Trust would share his new passion - about restoring a boat and this was why he needed the money. Within a matter of hours he was dead in one of the bird hides and because the island had been cut off by the tide it could only be a member of the committee who was responsible - and each of them could have had their own reason. George Palmer-Jones had not been present at the time of the murder, but he was a member of the committee and he decided to investigate.

I came to Come Death and High Water fresh from A Bird in the Hand. I'd liked the combination of George and his wife Molly; he cerebral and far-sighted if prone to impatience, she more kindly and patient, sensitive to others' feelings. So - it was a slight disappointment when I discovered that for much of this book Molly had been left at home and it was up to George to investigate. I was more conscious in this book that it was written thirty years ago: it wasn't just the absence of mobile phones, but students having grants (those were the days) and a general air of the world being less connected. Get over this though and it's a good story.

It wasn't that I didn't guess whodunnit, it was that I had no idea, but the solution was logical and satisfying. I enjoyed the insight into the birding world and particularly the practice of ringing birds and the use of a Heligoland trap or a mist net. It isn't something I'd like to be involved in - it feels slightly cruel although I accept that it's all done very carefully - but it was fascinating to see how it's done.

Rather than read the book I listened to an audio download (which I bought myself), narrated by Seán Barrett. As with A Bird in the Hand I was impressed by his range of voices and Barrett is very easy, indeed almost soothing, to listen to. He's on my list of preferred narrators.

So far it doesn't seem that there's any great benefit in reading the books in chronological order but if you prefer to do so, there's a list here. If you enjoy the George and Molly books we think that you'll also enjoy Ann Cleeves' Shetland novels and don't forget D I Vera Stanhope.

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Buy Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Come Death and High Water (George and Molly Palmer-Jones) by Ann Cleeves at Amazon.com.

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