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The Funeral Owl (A Philip Dryden Mystery Book 7) [Kindle Edition]

Jim Kelly
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When a reader contacts local newspaper The Crow to report a rare sighting of the Boreal or so-called 'Funeral' owl, the paper's editor Philip Dryden has a sense of foreboding. For the Funeral Owl is said to be an omen of death.

It's already proving to be one of the most eventful weeks in The Crow's history. The body of a Chinese man has been discovered hanging from a cross in a churchyard in Brimstone Hill in the West Fens. The inquest into the deaths of two tramps found in a flooded ditch has unearthed some shocking findings. A series of metal thefts is plaguing the area. And PC Stokely Powell has requested Dryden's help in solving a ten-year-old cold case: a series of violent art thefts culminating in a horrifying murder.

As Dryden investigates, he uncovers some curious links between the seemingly unrelated cases: it would appear the sighting of the Funeral Owl is proving prophetic in more ways than one.

Product Description


"Kelly pens believable characters amid a rich geography and resists the urge to make every event related." Publishers Weekly "An engaging character" Booklist Starred Review "Kelly's seventh series entry showcases his trademark multiple plotlines to perfection. Newcomers to the series will be delighted by this discovery." Library Journal

About the Author

A previous Dagger in the Library winner, Jim Kelly is the author of four Peter Shaw crime novels and six previous novels in the Philip Dryden series. He lives in Ely, Cambridgeshire.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1469 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (1 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #179,458 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing mystery... 1 Dec. 2013
By jaffareadstoo TOP 500 REVIEWER
The mysterious, and it must be said, rare sighting of the enigmatic Boreal, or `funeral owl', in the fenland area of Brimstone Hill is seen as a portent of death. When this is linked with some strange occurrences and spate of violent crimes, the local journalist, Philip Dryden, can scarce keep up with events.

This is the first of the Philip Dryden mystery books I have read, and I was surprised to find that this is number seven in the pecking order. I half expected it to be difficult to understand the hidden nuances which can litter an established series, but I'm pleased to say that this one works rather well as a standalone mystery, but I am sure that as with all series, it is probably better to start at the beginning with a proper emotional investment in the main characters.

I was very quickly drawn into the story, and thought that the conjured images of the wild and lonely fens are really well described. The beginning of the book gets off to a dramatic start with the arrival of a violent dust cloud, something I have never experienced in real life, but I feel that the author did a great job of making this strange phenomenon appear scarily realistic. The mystery itself, which is after all, the heart and soul of the story, had enough twists, turns and red herrings to keep me turning the pages long into the night. It is commendable that the author can grab the interest of a new reader so quickly.

I am intrigued by Philip Dryden, that's always a good sign, and would like to find out more about his character, so I shall tootle off to find myself the first book in the Philip Dryden series and I will start at the beginning !
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Another winner from Jim Kelly.

Once again he weaves a number of disparate storylines into a satisfying whole which makes for an excellent read. I couldn't put it down.

Dryden has opened a branch office of his newspaper in a small town on the Fens outside Ely. Shortly afterwards - Humph's daughter disappears, as does another student; a huge "Fen Blow" dust-storm wreaks havoc; a Chinese man is found dead in a churchyard out on the Fens strung up on a crucifix, two well-known local tramps are found drowned in a ditch; metal thefts increase dramatically putting lives at risk and a Police Constable who wears a Rolex watch is the local bobby on the beat. Gang warfare in the Kings Lynn Chinese community? A sinister Eastern European gang? Dryden finds himself pitched into the middle of events and has to steel himself to take some actions that confront his own deep personal fears. An anonymous photo of an owl ( The Funeral Owl) is sent to him and the sense of foreboding this brings haunts Dryden as he looks for the truth.

Throw in art theft, the Korean War and long buried memories and you have a great weekend read. And it is so cleverly written that the great reveal at the end and why remains a surprise.

As ever, the Fens are the star player, the landscape a bleak and empty backcloth to the action influencing the story and the characters. The research is sound and the story credible. These are real issues that are going on in this area of the country - where issues about immigration, and illegal activity linked with this are problems on a daily basis.

Regrettably , it's a bit like a box of chocolates: I couldn't wait to start it. Now I've finished it, I'm going to have to wait a long time for the next one ( but not too long please Jim!)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Scoop 10 Aug. 2014
It is a fundamental precept of the journalistic trade that a reporter should never be part of the story. Apparently this precept doesn’t apply to Phillip Dryden, the editor of the local newspaper The Crow and former Fleet Street reporter. Time and again throughout this latest story in the mystery series, he not only is a participant in the story, writing first-hand, reports his discovery of a body of a Chinese man hanging from a cross of Jesus near Christ Church, in an explosion of an illegal still, in which three men, two Chinese and a Pole, when he is nearby, or several other crimes where he is either in the middle, aiding the police in analyzing the event, or solving it.

The police theorize the original murder and subsequent occurrences in a nearby town are the result of a turf war, either between opposing tongs or a splinter group, each seeking control of illegal harvesting and black market sale of metal obtained from various sources, including lead ripped off the roof of the church. Somehow, Dryden finds links between the supposed disparate murders and other odd events.

Dryden is a hardworking editor and reporter, ever on the go. The writing is sometimes slow and mired in Anglicism’s, but on the whole the plotting is sharp and there is plenty of human interest. And, to top it off, the Fens geography and weather, together with a touch of the area’s history, increase the reader’s interest, especially the intimate descriptions of dust storms a la the 1930s Midwest, and the novel is recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just keeps getting better 30 Oct. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jim Kelly should be far more famous than he is - these thrillers are absolutely enthralling and he continues to develop the characters of both Philip Dryden and Humph so that you care for them more with every book.
The description of the Fen countryside (something it is all too easy in a book to skip through) is as compelling as the mystery itself.
Please do pick up this series but start at the beginning with The Water Clock.
Also don't miss his DI Peter Shaw series which are just as good.
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