A Siege of Bitterns

Narrated by: David Thorpe
Series: Birder Murder Mystery, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 39 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn't mind ruffling a few feathers. His success has elevated him into a poster boy for the police. 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, Jejeune's two worlds collide with the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. Jejeune must call on all his birding knowhow to solve the mystery and deal with unwelcome public acclaim, the mistrust of colleagues and his own insecurities. For in the case of the Saltmarsh birder murders, the victims may not be the only casualties....

©2014 Steve Burrows (P)2016 Isis Publishing Ltd

What listeners say about A Siege of Bitterns

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good mystery, superb narrator - excellent listen!

Not exactly a page turner but intriguing enough to keep me listening, especially after a somewhat slow start. Stay with it - as you get to know the well drawn characters it gets more exciting. Steve Burrows is an excellent writer - his prose is almost poetic.

An environmental theme with some interesting bits of information about birds. The way the murder is solved is very cool.

David Thorpe is one of the best narrators and does a splendid job in this book. His regional accents are fun and distinctive and I like the way he does Canadian.

I highly recommend A Siege of Bitterns to lovers of British mysteries, especially those who like intelligent plots and are fond of nature. I hope many readers discover this book and enjoy it as much as I did.

6 people found this helpful

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For. The. Birds.

I'm not a birder, but I know the breed very well (I'm married to one!). There's a lot of this book that will appeal to the zealous former and be all too familiar to the puzzled latter. Steve Burrows does a good job of presenting the enthusiasts' world and some of its inhabitants.

That said, I didn't find "A Siege of Bitterns" to be very good mystery. We're told often that the Inspector - who would rather be birding - is a genius at his job, but obscure and coy hints of the nature of this talent (past and present) become just annoying. Clues are kept close to the author's chest, and red herrings (is there a bird equivalent?) abound and distract. It seems to me that Burrows commits a real mystery "no-no" in not giving the reader sufficient information to have a chance at solving the case.

There are some interesting and well-presented characters to be sure, but the whole book is just too long and doesn't offer much suspense or action. The narrator has a pleasant enough voice, but some characters are too similarly read to be distinguishable, and the accents are often just plain odd.

Unless you really will do just about anything "for the birds", I wouldn't recommend this!

10 people found this helpful

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Birds Identify the Murderer

This is the first in a series of three books about a serious "birder"detective new to a small community on the coast in England. Being from Canada, it takes him a while to know the land. He's a celebrity for solving earlier murders and must work hard to uphold his reputation although he doesn't care to be in the limelight. His first crime here involves a complex understanding of environmental issues of the salt marshes and the passions of the residents whose lives revolve around protecting them. Not an easy case to solve. He also has a leadership style that doesn't fit well with his new team or his supervisor. I enjoyed the narrator as his voices fit the story well. I hope there will be more books from this author in the future. The birding element of all three books keeps my interest.

1 person found this helpful

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Uneven

A well-defined sense of place and birding culture is an intriguing backdrop to a confusing and weakly written plot. Too much action is described through dialogue. The reader was excellent, except for the irritatingly bad English-Canadian accent of the main character, who inexplicably had a French Canadian name. As a Canadian, this audiobook was hard to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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Good Mystery, with Clues to Discover

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, there were a lot of different turns in the plot, and subtly buried details that made it important to stay attentive

1 person found this helpful

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I need more birder murder mysteries in my life...

How could I pass on a book that's sub-titled a Birder Murder Mystery... As, 1) I love birds, and 2) the Audubon society recommended it, and 3) you can't beat a good mystery. This is D.I. Domenic Jejeune's first appearance for us. He's just been reassigned from London, to the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh... His introduction is brief, as he is briskly sent off to investigate Saltmarsh's newest crime... a murder! He and D.S. Danny Maik have to make the best of the situation as they try to form a working relationship on-the-fly, whilst also working out who would kill a well known environmentalist... You're soon made aware that Domenic would rather be bird-watching than being the chief Detective Inspector investigating a murder. On top of that he's really not sure if he can trust his new team so while he has them doing seemingly trivial research he's holding all the cards... This is actually a wonderfully contemporary British murder mystery, taking on today's environmental issues, and the tensions that arise among the avid bird watchers, in a bleak, wind swept stretch of marsh, fronted by the ocean... Does the sun ever come out in a British murder mystery? Just to prove my point, here's one of my favorite quotes from the story:   “Domenic Jejeune drove without haste, beneath a sky the colour of sorrow.”  David Thorpe's narration was spot on capturing the moods of this book and I look forward to hearing more books with him as narrator!

2 people found this helpful

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Nice Surprise

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I bought it because I like to feed our local birds and this book combined birding with a mystery. Overall I really enjoyed the book. It takes place by the saltmarshes in Norfolk. It was fun to look up the location and the birds mentioned in the book. I learned so much from the book about that area and birding in general. The mystery itself was great too. My one negative observation is that it dragged a bit in the middle, but once you get through that it really has a thrilling climax. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good mystery and is interested in birds (they do play a part in the solution) and getting to know that area of Britain. I look forward to reading the next book!

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  • KK
  • 10-04-19

Birders will love it, perhaps their partners too

I usually listen to more fantasy action genre titles. At a recent birding walk this book was recommended by another birder as a good read. I checked online to see if it was available on Audible and put it in watching before we all started out on our weekly birding excursion. Purchased/downloaded it shortly thereafter for an upcoming long driving trip. My (non-birder) husband and I listened to it during our recent many hour drive. We both totally enjoyed it! There is much more to the book than birding, in fact it is NOT what the book is about, it is a mystery/crime solving story. But, the birder's mind is on full display here and is woven into the story line. My husband (mostly) understands the birding thing and we had many good laughs as the book poked some fun at the obsessive nature of some birders (me). He is also a bit of an Anglophile so the setting worked well for his enjoyment. As one of the passionate birder types referenced in the book I understood and reveled in the birding references, although I was saddened by the marsh. The story had many twists and turns and the "who done it" aspect was well done. The narrator was absolutely fantastic. Even while driving it was always clear which character was speaking. I highly recommend this book, and will be purchasing the rest of the series - although I don't know if I can wait until our next driving trip to listen to them!

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  • Colette
  • 01-07-17

Really enjoyed this one

As a keen birder who loves crime novels this one was always going to be a winner. Add in my all time favourite narrator, David Thorpe, and it turned into one of my best listens of the last year.

3 people found this helpful

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  • marion
  • 09-20-20

Birding delight

Good story set in a lovely part of Britain with the added bonus of being narrated by David Thorpe.

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  • Bea Doubleday
  • 12-09-19

Well read and such an interesting and involving story

I enjoyed this story immensely, I loved the reader, amazing Norfolk accents. The story held my attention at all times, and knowing the Norfolk coast well, this held extra interest.

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  • K
  • 09-26-19

Quite annoying

The plot ricochets about far too much for an enjoyable listen and is frustrating rather than intriguing. The characters draw an ambivalent connection with the reader, with the I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself Lindy being by far the least likeable and is one of the reasons why I couldn’t bring myself to listen to a subsequent instalment. To be honest, I would have given up on this story early on if it had not been the lovely rendering of accents by David Thorpe - what a gem of a narrator that man is. He can truly turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

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  • Jane Shepherd
  • 02-06-18

Fascinating novel

Although not a birder I found this novel fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed the birding information as well as the absorbing crime story. Before I’d finished it I bought the second audiobook on this series, confident I’d enjoy it as much as I was this first one. The information about birds and the environment was enthralling and added a great deal to the story and I loved the interesting characters too. An excellent first novel in what I’m sure is going to prove one of my favourite series. The reading by David Thorpe was perfect.

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  • Luke
  • 07-04-19

Interesting detective story

This was a good, though not great, listen. I wasn't hugely impressed by the narrator whose accent occasionally slipped and was slightly over-dramatic in places. The birding concept was a good one and added another dimension to what would have been a run of the mill book. I liked it and would listen to another by the author.