Jan Dunlap is a former local author who now writes her birding mystery stories in Texas. She has written seven, her latest reviewed here. It’s titled “The Kiskadee of Death.” The title should give you an idea of Dunlap’s lighthearted style.
Her previous titles are “The Boreal Owl Murder,” “Murder on Warbler Weekend,” “A Bobwhite Killing,” “Falcon Finale,” “A Murder of Crows,” and “Swift Justice.”
The new book is reviewed below by Paul Baicich, editor of “The Birding Community E-bulletin.”
Jan Dunlap's latest entry in the genre of birding mystery stories is centered in south Texas., “The Kiskadee of Death” features her fictional hero, Bob White (no joke!). This mystery (North Star Press, 2015) is a quick and easy read, full of Lower Rio Grande Valley birds and locales (e.g., Estero Llano Grande, Fat Daddy's, Valley Nature Center, and the Alamo Inn).
In each of Dunlap's mysteries White stumbles on a dead body and "The Kiskadee of Death" is no exception. When White discovers the body of a birder at Estero Llano Grande, the suspects, and references to valley scenes and valley birds fly thick and fast. Indeed, the suspect list ebbs and flows as much as the cutesy banter between Bob White and his wife, Luce.
At 200 pages, the book is a light read for a long airline flight or even for an evening's dedication. This who-done-it moves quickly, and it is certain to produce at least a few smiles and chuckles. Regular fans of Dunlap should be pleased.
Birders of a certain age might remember "The Case of the Hook-billed Kites" by J.S. Borthwick (pen-name of Jean Scott Creighton), a murder-mystery that took place in South Texas (St.Martin's Paperpacks, 1991). It was full of birding activities mixed set within a classic mystery situation.
Dunlop, by the way, has a son named Bob who is one of Minnesota’s most active and accomplished birders.