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Murder on Warbler Weekend: A Bob White Birder Murder Mystery

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Jan Dunlap

For birder Bob White, May in Minnesota means three things: counseling high school students with spring fever, coaching the girls tenth grade softball team, and finding every warbler species during spring migration. But when his mother discovers a body … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Jan Dunlap
Publisher: North Star Pr of St Cloud
1 review about Murder on Warbler Weekend: A Bob White Birder...

EVERYTHING A COZY MYSTERY SHOULD BE. A Wonderful new series here!

  • May 16, 2010
What an interesting, entertaining and delightful read this one was. This is the second book by Jan Dunlap which features a rather likeable school counselor who also happens to be a top birder. I like cozy mysteries and birding is an important part of my life. I also like reading the writing of a natural story teller, so for me, this book had everything I want in a good read going for it.

When I start a new cozy series I seldom if ever start with the first book of the series. The reason for this is that I do not like starting a lengthy string of reads in an ongoing series, loving the books, and then be let down later when the author sort of runs out of creative juice...so to speak. This is all to common in any genre. This author has only written two, the first being The Boreal Owl Murder: A Bob White Birder Murder Mystery of which I will now read. I noted that her first work was somewhat trashed by Publisher's Weekly, a horrid little publication managed by clueless people, which for me is the best endorsement a book can receive since that particular publication is more often than not completely wrong. I am quite sure those folks don't actually read the books they review. Anyway, if P. Weekly did not like it, I am sure to love it.


In this neatly crafted story, we have our hero, Bob White taking his mother on a Mother's Day birding outing to see the spring warblers at a nearby park. As chance would have it, Bob's mother quite quickly runs across the dead body of a woman! Not something you really want to do while out enjoying birds. And the case begins.

The author has woven the everyday mundane work of a school counselor with some wonderful bird watching experiences, dirty politics, blackmail, murder, greed, dysfunctional families, and a personal mild love life; mixed in some very interesting characters and created a delightful cozy mystery and read.

As with most books in this genre, i.e. cozy mysteries, the murder and indeed the "mystery," are aspects which are almost incidental. You read these books for the background, for the authors take on little chunks of life. While the author has given us a plethora of likely suspects and villains to choose from, still and all it is the story and not the crime that is important. I must admit that with this work Jan Dunlap has given us plenty of twists and turns and has skillfully tantalized us with plenty of clues...we just have to be bright enough to spot and appreciate them.

The author also has a fine sense of humor which shines though page after page. At the very least the reader will find themselves smirking quite a bit and smiling through several episodes.

The only slight complaint I had during my reading of this book, and a slight complaint it is, I admit, is names. The author has a tendency to throw a lot of names, first names at that, around and many of these names are quite similar in sound and spelling making it, at first anyway, rather difficult to follow...like as in who is doing what to whom, and when. This of course is as much my problem as it is the author's as I have been cursed with an attention span of that of a ferret after 10 cups of coffee. Normal readers may not have a problem with this.

There are good and realistic action sequences to be had and skillfully sprinkled throughout the book, and the author has handled the dialog of the characters quite well. The story is believable; although as with any author worth their salt, some events have obviously been embellished just a bit. When I speak of embellishments, I will use the example of warbler identification. Our hero, Bob White seems to never miss the identification of a species. I have been birding well over 60 years now and can modestly say that I am pretty good at what I do. Warblers are difficult to identify to say the least. Folks, it just ain't that easy. Warblers will drive you crazy. This is good though; at least one birder I know now, fictional though he may be, is good at it. This gives me hope.

I do hope there are many more books in this series coming from this author's pen. This is good stuff and I cannot wait for the next offering.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

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