cover image A Foreboding of Petrels

A Foreboding of Petrels

Steve Burrows. Point Blank, $15.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-86154-175-1

Canadian author Burrows’s stellar seventh Birder Murder mystery (after 2019’s A Dance of Cranes) finds Det. Chief Insp. Domenic Jejeune, of the Saltmarsh PD in Norfolk, England, suspended for removing evidence from a crime scene. But his time off proves anything but when Jejeune, an avid birder, spots someone skulking around a cliff who may be the arsonist responsible for a series of fires targeting bird-watching hides. The person escapes, but Jejeune pursues the matter unofficially, even as his colleagues continue the formal inquiry into the arson. The case gets more serious when another hide is torched and a corpse is found in the ruins. That mystery may be connected to that of Alex Kasabian, a climate researcher at a base in Antarctica affiliated with a local university, who was found frozen to death near his snowmobile whose fuel line had been severed. Kasabian had posted an ominous prediction on his blog (“I will not live to see the storm petrels return”), which was passed on to the Saltmarsh PD by a constable’s girlfriend. The crafty plot makes for a thoughtful fair play whodunit. Fans of high-quality, nuanced mystery fiction will want to see a lot more of Burrows. Agents: Meg Wheeler and Bruce Westwood, Westwood Creative Artists. (Sept.)