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 !