The Funeral Owl (Philip Dryden Series #7)

The Funeral Owl (Philip Dryden Series #7)

4.0 2
by Jim Kelly
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/28/2013
At the start of Kelly’s busy seventh Philip Dryden mystery (after 2012’s Nightrise), newspaper editor Dryden and his cabbie friend, Humph, are looking for Humph’s missing 15-year-old daughter, Grace, who is found soon after a ferocious dust storm in a remote part of England’s Fen country. Philip considers the storm for a headline, until he visits Christ Church, Brimstone Hill, to do a story on lead theft, and discovers a body hanging on a crucifix. Other local crimes include instances of moonshine poisoning, a cold case involving a series of fatal home invasions, further depredations by the unknown metal thieves, and a fatal explosion. With his perspective, Philip is able to draw conclusions that the local constabulary miss. Kelly pens believable characters amid a rich geography and resists the urge to make every event related. Agent: Faith Evans, Faith Evans Associates. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
“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 of The Funeral Owl

" Kelly's 7th series entry showase his trademark multiple plotines to pefection.  Newcomers to the series will be delighted by this discovery"
Library Journal on Funeral Owl

Booklist Starred Review
“An engaging character”
Library Journal
12/01/2013
Local UK newspaper editor Philip Dryden could go years without having a news week like this one. It opens with an epic dust storm wreaking havoc in the Fens region and continues with a string of dangerous metal robberies that threaten train lines and wind turbines. A startlingly gruesome murder scene in a churchyard stirs up the possibilities of a Chinese gang war in the next town over. Through it all, Dryden attempts to connect any dots and stay vigilant with his stories. His interactions with a disturbed Korean War vet haunt him, though, as do his interviews with the blind sexton and his gnarly grandson. But when a deadly—and highly flammable—moonshine operation is discovered, Dryden knows he's sitting on the story of a lifetime. VERDICT Dagger Award-winning Kelly's seventh series entry (after Nightrise) showcases his trademark multiple plotlines to perfection. Newcomers to the series will be delighted by this discovery.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-02
It's open season for disasters, felonies and all manner of malfeasance in Cambridgeshire in journalist Philip Dryden's seventh outing. Dryden has just been appointed editor of The Crow on the strength of his promise to raise the paper's profile by launching a series of regional editions. The gods of journalism are cooperating by providing enough copy for a dozen editions. A surprisingly well-organized gang has stolen metal from the roof of Christ Church and half a dozen other local sites. Rev. Jennifer Temple-Wright, the vicar, is bent on evicting blind old Albe Haig from his tenancy in a church outbuilding. Inside the church hangs kitchen porter Sima Shuba, shot and crucified. Korean War veteran Jock Donovan swears he can hear excruciating high-pitched noises coming from the wind farm nearby. PC Stokely Powell wants Dryden to look into the murder of Muriel Calder's farmer husband, Ronald, by three art thieves who went on a home-invasion spree over 10 years ago. Cabbie Humph Humphries' daughter, Grace, goes missing. So do Julian Amhurst, a chemistry whiz despondent because he didn't get into Cambridge, and Will Brinks, who spotted a pair of Boreal Owls, the rare funeral owls whose sighting indicates that death is at hand. They don't know the half of it. Just as much criminal mischief as Nightrise (2013), but this time, Kelly makes no attempt to pull all the threads together. The result, sensitive and heartfelt to a fault, is the sort of round robin you might expect from the 87th Precinct: a dizzying range of twists and turns and an awful lot of loose ends.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780290492
Publisher:
Severn House Publishers
Publication date:
12/01/2013
Series:
Philip Dryden Series, #7
Edition description:
First World Publication
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet 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.

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The Funeral Owl 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
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.
BrandieC More than 1 year ago
The Funeral Owl was another strong entry in the Philip Dryden series. Jim Kelly continues to write mysteries with clever red herrings and unexpected plot twists. While I was suspicious of the character who ultimately turned out to be the murderer, I was completely wrong about that character's motivation and yet, once Kelly (through Dryden) explained it, it made perfect sense. In The Funeral Owl, Kelly also devoted a substantial amount of time to developing the personalities of the three main characters: Philip; his wife Laura; and his friend Humph. An entire subplot focused on Humph's relationship with his daughter Grace; we learned more about Philip's water phobia (which, from the previous Philip Dryden book I had read, had seemed to arise solely from the car accident in which Laura was injured); and Laura's character gained depth from both her handling of her residual physical limitations and her new status as a mother. I look forward to seeing all of these characters grow in subsequent books. I received a free copy of The Funeral Owl through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.