A Shimmer of Hummingbirds by Steve Burrows
|A Shimmer of Hummingbirds by Steve Burrows|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The fourth book in the DCI Domenic Jejeune series reads well as a stand alone - but bewaare - you're probably going to want to go back and read the first three books. Birders will love it, but even if you don't know a sparrow from a sparrowhawk it's still a good police procedural.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: April 2018|
|Publisher: Point Blank|
|External links: Author's website|
Detective Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is on a birding trip to Colombia: well it's ostensibly a birding trip, but the reality is that he's trying to establish what really happened in the manslaughter case which has left his brother a fugitive. It's a difficult situation as the police force don't want him to do this and the Colombian authorities are understandably reluctant, but Jejeune has always been a law unto himself. Meanwhile in Saltmarsh on the North Norfolk coast there's been a brutal murder of a woman, and DI Marvin Laraby, Jejeune's nemesis, has been drafted in to replace Jejeune during his absence. How's that going to work out?
I wouldn't describe myself as a birder, but I love to watch them and second to the area where I live, the north Norfolk coast is my favourite place, so this book was going to demand to be read. There was only one problem: this is the fourth book in the 'Birder Murder' series and I haven't read the first three. I'm always reluctant to join a series well down the line, as it can be a disappointing read and that's not fair on the author. A sleepless night and nothing else to read settled the dilemma - and I have to say that it worked out well.
The birds are not your average garden birds - you're going to meet some once-in-a-lifetime representatives in Colombia along with some that are native to north Norfolk. If you're a birder - or, like me, an interested watcher - they're birds to drool over. A Shimmer of Hummingbirds could have been a birder's book with a police procedural loosely stitched on, but Steve Burrows treads a fine line: there's enough of birding here to keep the enthusiast reading avidly, but it's an accomplished mystery which carries the book.
The characters are good too: Jejeune's Canadian by birth and a deep thinker. He reasons where others dash in without a thought. Sometimes you wish that he could be a little more, well, accommodating, a little less principled, but then he wouldn't be Jejeune. Even his journalist girlfriend, Lindy, understands that. Marvin Laraby's a complex character. He's come from the Met and there's history between him and Laraby: Laraby even suggests that Jejeune was the cause of his divorce. He fits in well at Saltmarsh too: there are those who would admit that the atmosphere around the station is better when Laraby's there. Perhaps Jejeune should worry about keeping his job?
So - the book read well as a standalone. You get hints of what has gone on in the past but there's nothing there that you think is an obvious spoiler. The main problem that I could see is that you're really going to be tempted to go back and read the three earlier books in the series. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For more crime from Norfolk we can recommend Elly Griffiths' Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Shimmer of Hummingbirds by Steve Burrows at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Shimmer of Hummingbirds by Steve Burrows at Amazon.com.
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