This amateur sleuth story involves birding; if you're not
so into the outdoors, just treat it as another craft-based
mystery. DIE, DIE BIRDIE follows Amy Simms who has created
a birding shop in Ruby Lake, North Carolina, in a Victorian
house. Just prior to her opening day, with the bird houses
in stock but the bird seed delayed, Amy finds a man lying
dead on her floor; there's blood on him and on a nearby
poker. Her elderly tenant upstairs thinks Amy killed him -
whoever he is - and she wonders if her fledgling business
can survive the scandal.
Amy has a business partner, Kimberly, and they're both mid-
thirties. Amy is in her hometown so she knows the police
chief Jerry Kennedy by his first name, though she's not
supposed to use it, and her mom also lives in town, giving
advice unasked for at times. Good company can be found at
the diner across the street, while customers who wander in
don't always know about squirrel-proof bird feeders. This
seems like a store, and a town, I'd enjoy visiting. The
deceased turns out to be Matt Kowalski, staying at a motel,
and why anyone would kill a stranger is beyond Amy. She
can't avoid being interested in the case. Especially since
the police chief holds a grudge about their one childhood
I must point out that in a book about birders I would
expect to see the central character actually doing some
birdwatching in the mountains and woods. Amy name-checks a
lot of birds during her narration but spends her life in
her shop or around town, not even carrying binoculars and
pointing at one of the state's many feathered inhabitants.
She's too busy selling scoops to funnel seeds into a feeder
without spilling, to tell us what would be nesting or
flying on migration at this time of year. This makes me
think that the author J R Ripley, a pen-name for mystery
author Glenn Maganck, is trying to appeal to bird lovers
without actually being one. Dedicated birdwatchers can be
found in a smashing series by Christine Goff with titles
like Death Of A
Songbird. On the other hand, many of us
want to know how to attract wild birds to feed and nest in
our garden, and DIE, DIE BIRDIE shows that a lot of good
advice, books and equipment can be bought. J R Ripley has
presented a lively small-town mystery which will appeal to
readers who follow women sleuths.
For Amy Simms, hatching a birding shop in her hometown of
Ruby Lake, North Carolina, hasn’t exactly been a breeze. But
could a deadlydiscovery clip her wings for good?
It’s just days before Amy plans to open Birds & Bees on
the first floor of her creaky Victorian house, but delayed
seed shipments have prevented the fledging owner from
stocking her shelves. And it doesn’t help that Amy’s best
friend and business partner is out of town indefinitely.
With locals skeptical about the niche shop taking flight,
the last thing Amy needs now is a dead man in her
storeroom—or for a crotchety tenant to catch her holding a
bloody birdfeeder hook over his body . . .
Pigeonholed as a leading murder suspect by police and
lacking a solid alibi, Amy’s delving into the victim’s ugly
past and buzzing around Ruby Lake for clues on his killer .
. . beforeshe ends up like so many of her beloved feathery
friends—trapped behind bars!