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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

A Shimmer of Hummingbirds / Steve Burrows

A Shimmer of Hummingbirds: A Birder Murder Mystery - Steve Burrows

Chief Inspector Domenic Jejeune is hoping an overseas birding trip might hold some answers in his fugitive brother’s manslaughter case. But there are people on the tour who seem keen to keep their secrets, and the rainforest can be a dangerous place for those who ask too many questions. 

Back in the U.K., in Jejeune’s absence, Marvin Laraby, his former boss and longtime nemesis has been brought in to investigate the murder of an accountant. He is proving so effective that Superintendent Colleen Shepherd is considering making his replacement of Jejeune a permanent arrangement. 

With the manslaughter case poised to claim another victim, Jejeune learns that an accident back home involving his girlfriend, Lindy Hey, is much more than it seems. Lindy is in imminent danger. And only Jejeune can help her. But to do so, he must sacrifice his working relationship with Shepherd, opening the door for Laraby’s appointment as Saltmarsh’s new DCI. 

When Jejeune discovers the truth about Laraby’s current case, he is faced with a dilemma. He can speak up, knowing it will cost him his job on the north Norfolk coast he loves. Or he can stay silent, and let a killer escape justice. 

As he weighs his alternatives, Domenic Jejeune begins to realize that, sometimes, the wrong choice is the only choice you have.

 

The best part of these multi-volume mystery series? One mystery is solved during the course of the book, but the overarching storyline develops more slowly. Burrows doesn’t rush things and he assumes that the reader will be able to fill in the blanks without too much coaching. He gives enough details so that if the reader, like me, has been away from the main characters for a while we can fit them into their places quite easily. But he doesn’t do like some of the cozy mystery authors, who repeat their characters’ life details far too often and in too much detail.

Being a birder myself, I could see the lure of Columbia as a destination, a good cover for what we know Domenic is really up to. As in real life, many other people can also see through his smoke screen--and unlike me, they don’t understand the lure of the bird. 

Burrows leaves us with a tiny bit of a cliff hanger in this volume….I’ll be headed on to the next installment soon.