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Monday, 4 February 2019

‘A Tiding of Magpies’ by Steve Burrows

Published by Point Blank,
27 September 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78607-438-6 (PB)

A burned body has been discovered on the Norfolk building-site, and it looks like it won’t be easy to find an identity. The investigation leads Canadian DCI Jejeune into the local Polish community... but it also leads him into danger.

This gripping police procedural begins with a hunted girl lost in the fog; we then move to the present day, and the investigation of the body in the pit. This is the fifth in the series, and though the main mystery is a stand-alone, there are a number of strands from previous novels. DCI Jejeune is recently back from his Columbian investigation to help his brother, and he’s also worried about Ray Hayes, a man with a grudge against him who is targeting Jejeune’s girlfriend Lindy. A ‘cold case’ investigation centres round the kidnapping of the Home Secretary’s daughter, the case which made Jejeune an inspector, and it seems Jejeune has something to hide in connection with it. As with the previous novels, there’s also a conservation theme woven into the plot: in this case, the difficulty of dealing with invasive species. The Polish men are involved in digging up Japanese knotweed, and the dead man was a marksman licensed to shoot non-native birds which breed with native ones. The characters are vividly alive: reticent Jejeune and his lively girlfriend Lindy, who is still hoping that their relationship will move closer; his Motown-loving Sergeant Danny Maik, DCS Shepherd, who’s re-building her relationship with Jejeune, Sergeant Tony Holland who homes in on the Met investigator, businessman Angeren and the charming Polish leader, Sikorski. The police procedure is convincingly done and the movement between strands keeps the plot going at a good pace and the Norfolk landscape is beautifully described.

An excellent PP set in rural Norfolk, with enjoyable characters and a strong conservation slant. If you haven’t met DCI Jejeune yet, then the first book in the series is A Siege of Bitterns.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Steve Burrows has pursued his birdwatching hobby on five continents. He is a former editor of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society Magazine and a contributing field editor for Asian Geographic. Steve now lives with his wife in Oshawa, Ontario.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death on a Shetland Isle

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