What a great add to Marty Wingate’s Birds of a Feather Mystery series! This fourth in series can be read as a standalone or in order. I was captivated by the author’s descriptions of the symphony of birds, butterflies, and vegetation in England. Her love for the land is evident, enthralling the reader with the breathtaking beauty of the area around Suffolk, England. As someone who eagerly looks forward to each book in this series, I think this is the best – but don’t miss the earlier ones! Julia is manager of the TIC, Tourist Information Center, at Fotheringham Estate in Smeaton-Under-Lyme. Linus, Lord Fotheringham, is owner of the village estate which includes his residence, ancient abbey ruins, St. Swithun’s, and many shops and farms. The estate is open to the public for hiking, bicycling, picnics, and fishing. Julia is also daughter to Rupert Lanchester, acclaimed ornithologist, best known for A Bird in the Hand, a beloved TV show. Michael, Rupert’s personal assistant and producer, and Julia are looking forward to an evening together after attending a wedding. They headed toward the tiny abode that is part of Julia’s payment package, and saw someone at the entry surrounded by grocery bags. Pammy, Michael’s sister, has come for a short visit after leaving her boyfriend. Their lives change as she takes up residence for what seems like forever in the sitting room, kind of like a cuckoo infiltrating a nest. Julia is at St. Swithun’s when Willow, an esteemed school teacher, races in and collapses after literally tripping over a dead man at the pond. He has no ID, just a unique collection in a small packet. Julia, who promised to not get involved in any more investigations, refers to him as That Poor Man. Based on verbal ID’s from those on the estate, he is recognized as Bob, very knowledgeable about the nature of the area and who has helped at many farms. The search is on to determine not only who he is, but to find his killer – as That Poor Man was murdered. I really like Julia, who I can easily picture out on the estate. She is witty, intelligent, and well-liked by most. Michael is a great for her as they balance each other out even while listening to and watching birds. At least until Pammy shows up with nowhere to go. I came to like the delightful Pammy very much during her stay; the girl has a huge, kind heart. The shop owners are also very likable as they work together and respect each other. I appreciate the investigators, especially Tess, recent a friend of Julia’s. Ms. Wingate treats us to her delightful humor, whether it be Pammy and her subjects or a comparison with the Cuckoo poem. Julia’s creativity is evident as she comes up with new events to bring in new tourists and plans updated brochures. As they learn more about That Poor Man, it is hard to believe that he had enemies. Suspects are few, including a farmers and a couple visitors. I’m not sure how I guessed who the bad guy/gal is. There was only one incident that gave me a hint until the motive came later. One suspect seems to have the most to hide until two others are revealed. I was very satisfied with the breathtaking denouement, leading to a calm, sweet finale, and highly recommend this, especially to those who love the beauty of birds, vegetation, and the English countryside. From a grateful heart: I received an e-arc from the author and NetGalley, and this is my honest review. A review was not required.
Wingate's A Bird of a Feather Mystery series sets protagonist Julia
Lanchester on another intriguing mystery. With the wonderfully English
countryside and a murder on the Fotheringill estate, Julia is back in the
thick of it trying to solve a mystery. I love this series and relate to the
avid tea-drinking and cake-loving Julia. Can't put this book down!
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