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The Birdwatcher av William Shaw
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The Birdwatcher (urspr publ 2015; utgåvan 2016)

av William Shaw (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
14715147,012 (3.94)23
A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South's world flips. The culprit seems to be a drifter from South's childhood; the victim was the only person connecting South to his early crime; and a troubled, vivacious new female sergeant has been relocated from London and assigned to work with South. As our hero investigates, he must work ever-harder to keep his own connections to the victim, and his past, a secret.… (mer)
Medlem:MrPenybanc
Titel:The Birdwatcher
Författare:William Shaw (Författare)
Info:riverrun (2016), 336 pages
Samlingar:Fiction read
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Birdwatcher av William Shaw (2015)

Ingen/inga
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Far too many "coincidences". ( )
  ParadisePorch | Feb 3, 2021 |
I missed William Shaw’s 2016 novel The Birdwatcher when it was first published, but thanks to a reference made to the novel on a favorite book blog of mine back in August, I’ve now taken care of that oversight. And I’m glad I did, because The Birdwatcher is special. In my experience, the best crime fiction is characterized by well-developed characters and a vivid setting even more often than it is by plot – and The Birdwatcher has both of those in spades.

William South, a small-town English cop, is the main character of the novel, and the book’s first three sentences tell you exactly how South thinks of himself (punctuated here exactly as in the book):

“There were two reasons why William South did not want to be on the murder team.

The first was that it was October. The migrating birds had begun arriving on the coast.

The second was that, though nobody knew, he was a murderer himself.”

Strangely enough, it is because South is both a dedicated birdwatcher and a murderer himself, that he is such a good cop. The man understands people and what they are capable of doing if pressed hard enough by circumstances, and his observational skills and patience ensure that very little gets past him. South, however, is not a homicide investigator, and he’s never worked a murder case. He is more the kind of small-town cop who gets called upon to be first at the scene of road accidents, burglaries, and noise complaints. So South has good reason to suspect that he’s already in over his head, but when the victim turns out to be his own best friend, he really wants no part of the investigation.

His new boss, the recently arrived Detective Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi, though, will not let South off the hook so easily. South is the neighborhood police officer for the Kent neighborhood in which his friend’s brutally beaten body was found, and Cupidi knows that he will be invaluable in getting her first investigation off to the impressive start she so badly needs. Cupidi, recently displaced from her old London precinct, is determined to make a positive impression on her own new bosses – and South is going to help her do that whether he wants to do it or not. But when the supposed killer turns out to be a man from South’s own Northern Ireland hometown, and is the very man who can most readily tie South back to the past he has kept hidden for so many years, he realizes that this investigation – and his new boss – may finally uncover all of his secrets. And he can’t have that.

Bottom Line: The Birdwatcher is brilliantly constructed, revealing little by little who William South is and whether such a good man, a man who has spent his entire adult life enforcing the law, is really capable of murder. Equally compelling, is the gradual development of the rather unlikable character DS Alex Cupidi, a pushy woman who puts career achievement before everything else in her life, including it seems, her daughter Zoë.

I knew enough about The Birdwatcher from the previously mentioned book blog to know that it is a prequel to a series even though it’s sometimes billed as a standalone rather than as the first book in the series. What I did not know, however, greatly surprised me, because the whole time I was reading The Birdwatcher I was anticipating reading the rest of the “William South series.” As it turns out, I should have been anticipating the “DS Alex Cupidi” series, instead. Of the three main characters in The Birdwatcher (South, Cupidi, and Zoë), the self-centered Cupidi is the last one I would have expected to become the basis for a detective series of her own. Those who read the first Cupidi-labeled novel before reading The Birdwatcher will have missed out on that bit of fun. William Shaw, though, is such a talented writer, that I can’t wait to see how he turns Alex Cupidi into a character I want to read about more than once. And that should be even more fun. ( )
  SamSattler | Oct 19, 2020 |
I found this a little bit clunky; the narrative switched between the modern-day Kent coast, where Sergeant William South’s friend and fellow birdwatcher, Bob, is found murdered, the first of several grisly murders, and 1970s Northern Ireland, where William grew up during the Troubles. The switches never seemed seamless; the sections in Northern Ireland felt, to me, to be interrupting the flow of the modern-day crime story. It also felt like one of the murders was thrown in purely to bring some relevance to the 1979s narrative - no explanation as to why the circumstances had occurred is given, and there is too much explanation at the end via dialogue between the two main characters - I feel these things should have be more evident from the actual narrative. ( )
  TheEllieMo | Jan 18, 2020 |
This is a rather unusual mystery, with interesting characters and a violent sub-plot from the past that colors the main character's life.

William South is an Irish-born police sergeant stationed in Kent, England, where he and his mother moved when he was 13. Although considered a smart and dedicated officer, he's never before worked a murder inquiry, always managing to avoid them because of his own guilt in a death from his childhood. Now he's forced to be involved in two murder investigations. One victim is a neighbor and fellow-birdwatcher, the other someone he'd known in Ireland. He has a new partner, transferred from Scotland Yard and arriving just that week with a teenage daughter in tow. As the cases progress, and even as William helps his partner with her lonely daughter, introducing the fascinated kid to birdwatching, her mother becomes less and less friendly towards William and he wonders if she's discovered his childhood secret.

There is a sequel, but for only one of the main characters, which will be strange. But I'd still like to read it. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Jan 10, 2019 |
The first four lines of The Birdwatcher are stunning. You know immediately that William South is a killer, but as you read and make your way around South's mind, you can't believe that he is. And then you learn more. And more. South is a completely sympathetic character in a vivid, atmospheric setting, tasked with finding a killer, and teamed with the questionable DS Alexandra Cupidi. I first learned about this book after reading the synopsis of Salt Lane and discovering that it was the second book in the Alexandra Cupidi series. I had a feeling that I definitely wanted to start at the beginning, so I got a copy of The Birdwatcher. I'm glad I did because I was only a few pages into the story when I knew that I was reading something very special.

It wasn't just about a mystery that keeps you guessing. It wasn't just about the remoteness and loneliness of a landscape that mirrored the mind of the main character. It was about a troubled teenage girl who proved to be the one person lonely William South could open up to. And it was about a totally infuriating lead investigator. As I read The Birdwatcher, I wondered if I really wanted to go on to read Salt Lane. You see, I couldn't stand Alexandra Cupidi. She's the type of "force of nature" that I want to head in the opposite direction from. Cupidi presumes much when it comes to William South. She commandeers his house and turns it into their base of operations, and she also turns him into a babysitter. It's almost as if she went out of her way not to endear herself to me. And it worked. But... she's a fine investigator.

I think William Shaw is a puppetmaster when it comes to storytelling. Keep your eye on him. I was completely drawn into his tale, and although the ending was inevitable, I loved the book, and nothing is going to keep me away from the second Alexandra Cupidi mystery-- not even Cupidi herself. ( )
1 rösta cathyskye | Jul 16, 2018 |
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A methodical, diligent, and exceptionally bright detective, South is an avid birdwatcher and trusted figure in his small town on the rugged Kentish coast. He also lives with the deeply buried secret that, as a child in Northern Ireland, he may have killed a man. When a fellow birdwatcher is found murdered in his remote home, South's world flips. The culprit seems to be a drifter from South's childhood; the victim was the only person connecting South to his early crime; and a troubled, vivacious new female sergeant has been relocated from London and assigned to work with South. As our hero investigates, he must work ever-harder to keep his own connections to the victim, and his past, a secret.

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