A Siege of Bitterns

Overview

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.

Awards

Commended
Dewey Divas and the Dudes Spring Picks
2014
Winner
Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel
2015
Short-listed
Kobo Emerging Writer’s Prize, Fiction
2015

Reviews

This is one of the most delightful, old-fashioned mysteries of recent years.

DailyMail

Sound plot and well-drawn characters within the police and from all sides of Norfolk's ecological issues make for a most entertaining read. 

The Times

Finally, a solid, well-constructed murder mystery that happens to involve a subject with which many mystery readers might not be familiar.

Booklist

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.

National Post

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.

Globe and Mail

Filled with clues dead ends . . . and blinding moments of “Eureka!”

The Sun-Times

. . . 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.

London Free Press

The debut of a major new Canadian talent.

Globe and Mail

About the Author

Steve Burrows

Posted by Kendra on October 30, 2014
Steve Burrows photo

Steve Burrows

Steve Burrows has pursued his birdwatching hobby on six continents. The first Birder Murder Mystery, A Siege of Bitterns, won the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. The other books in the series are A Pitying of Doves and A Cast of Falcons. Steve lives with his wife, Resa, in Oshawa, Ontario.