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The Funeral Owl (A Philip Dryden Mystery)

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

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

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Product Description

Product 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 details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 805 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:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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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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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Mystery 18 April 2014
By Pete D
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There was very little that I did not like about this book. The Fenland came alive - or perhaps I should say dead. Dryden is at his best with everything in his happening at once. Even Humphrey, his cabbie gets a good look in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kelly remains an under-rated author 3 Jan 2014
There is an awful lot happening in the Fen countryside this time - murders, explosions, bootlegging, near-drownings etc. And our local journalist, Philip Dryden, accompanied by his driver Humph, are in the middle of things.

As usual, the quality of writing is high and the plot threads are all sound, even if the small, local community attracts a disproportionate amount of action and tragedy this time. The reader remains very much invested in trying to work out who has been doing what as the twists and turns emerge.

The characterisations are as strong as usual and I am glad that Dryden remains an eager and accomplished journalist who does not morph into Superman for the stories. I still think, however, that Kelly is not doing enough with Dryden's family. There really are only token references to his wife and infant son here.

A pleasure to read a Kindle version without typos and/or formatting problems, I might add.

This book is perhaps not strong as some of the best in this series, but a Kelly novel is always an engaging read and will remain an automatic buy for me.
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