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A Bird in the Hand

Narrated by: Seán Barrett
Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
4 out of 5 stars (103 ratings)
Regular price: £18.59
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Summary

Young Tom French was found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. One of the best birders in England, Tom had put the village of Rushy on the birdwatching map. Everyone liked him. Or did they?

George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher who decided quietly to look into the brutal crime, discovered mixed feelings aplenty. But as he and his fellow "twitchers" flocked from Norfolk to Scotland to the Scilly Isles in response to rumours of rare sightings, George - with help from his lovely wife, Molly - gradually discerned the true markings of a killer. All he had to do was prove it...before the murderer struck again.

©1986 © Ann Cleeves (P)2015 Isis Publishing Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Better at high playback speed

I enjoy Ann Cleeves' other series and I might enjoy this series more if I was the interested in birds. I found the plodding pace of the narrator difficult until I turned playback up to 1.25x.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Gripping until the ending

Have you ever read one of those Agatha Christie novels where you try really hard to work with the detective only for a snippet of information to arrive from Somerset house, transforming our understanding of events?
So it is with this book. It is a good listen, but when all is 'revealed' I felt cheated by the deceptive presentation of one character. It made the resolution seem random.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Didn't like narrator

What would have made A Bird in the Hand better?

Some one different reading it he was too monotones I found I was struggling to listen to the story and not the drone of a flat voice

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I can't answer this I could not listen any longer

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Seán Barrett?

Anyone

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Bird in the hand.

Strong storyline with an interesting conclusion. I always thoroughly enjoy Sean Barrett 's engaging reading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

very spooky and atmospheric

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator was fantastic the tone of his voice suited the story and kept me hooked.
I had a visual picture of all the characters, which always helps a story come to life. I felt so sorry for the poor man with learning problems and wanted to help him. Another man who was struggling to cope with life was brought to reality by the narrator. I just couldn't stop listening to this book until it was all sorted and solved. Up to Anne Cleaves standard.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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OK...

There are elements of this which are excellent. The setting is good (a foggy marsh). The suspects are diverse enough. The narration is very good to. Personally, I love Sean Barrett's performances; but there is a sense that he struggles here. Dialogue is limited, so he doesn't get to properly strut is normal narration excellence.
The main criticism I have so far (3hrs in...and unsure if I'm going to finish), is that it feels like the pacing is off. Halfway through the book, and it feels like the 'investigation' hasn't proceeded much. We are now at a stage where two characters, both possible suspects, who knew something (typical Agatha Christie trope) appear to be in trouble. The suspense around these two was well built. But this feels like it should be more towards that climax of the book, rather than a mid point plot.
Also, sometimes you feel like there are people you can rule out, but again, halfway through, and you can't everyone is a suspect, so I feel like I'm trying to keep too many characters in my head.
This was the author's debut novel, but she still writes better than many other so called authors (50 shades, twilight etc...).

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Is this the same author?

I love the Vera Stanhope books but the author does not write them quickly enough. This is the first of the 'Twitchers' series i have read and it will probably be the last although I have unfortunately bought more - I did try to read 'murder in paradise but could just not get interested. What a pity.
The book is not written with the same energy or underlying comedy as the VS books, and the characters don't grow. I'm afraid I get very tired of the constant ornithological detours which don't add to the story setting like the descriptions of the landscape, weather, urban settings and the people do in the VS books.( I do like birds!!)
And to put a lid.on it, I found the monotone narration kept sending me to sleep so that I had to keep going back and it took me ages to finish as I rarely give up on a book. Sorry Ms Ann Cleeves. While waiting for the next VS book i am going to give the Inspector Ramsey series a try.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Tedious, long winded a struggle to finish

I enjoy Vera and Shetland books but find some of this authors other work very poor by comparison. This seems to be more about the authors distaste for twitchers than anything else. The plot is so thin it s almost transparent and would have been better suited to a short story. Even the valiant efforts of Sean Barrett - one of my favourite narrators - did little to lift this audio book. Mr Barratt had little to work with and so his performance suffered. There is little dialogue for him to display his range of accents and voices which are best showcased with writers such as Phil Rickman.
I really struggled to finish this book and confess I slept through some without bothering to rewind- but still kept up with the story as it didn't move on very quickly. Don't think I will be buying other books from this series.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Penelope
  • 28-11-16

zzzzzzzzZZZZ

Would you try another book from Ann Cleeves and/or Seán Barrett?

Love Ann Cleeves writing, particularly the Shetland Series.
But the narration here by Sean Barrett is paralysingly boring and monotonous. It adds nothing to the book.
Great is you want a bedtime book - this one won't keep you awake.
I will always look forward to an Ann Cleeves book but will wait until an alternative narrator is used or buy the ebook instead.


What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Mostly relief that it was over. The narration did nothing to build suspense or intrigue, or even interest to keep one guessing.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Seán Barrett?

Someone who can bring themselves to get involved in the story.
Simon Vance, Simon Prebble, George Guidall, Kenny Blyth, Davina Porter or Jonathan Keeble ...... So many wonderful narrators to choose from!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. Not Ann Cleeves best book but that could have been less obvious with a different narrator perhaps.

Any additional comments?

It is disappointing when a narrator seems uninterested in the book, but as I haven't anything else in my library read by Mr Barrett I can't judge whether this is his usual style, that is, calm and quiet, or if it was just the book he couldn't raise an interest in.
Buy the ebook and read it yourself.