Author: Stephen Alter
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Birdwatching is a deliciously inventive thriller that traces the discovery of a dead body by Guy Fletcher and the aftermath of that discovery. Fast-paced narrative and exquisite descriptions of places far and beyond entice the readers even before the real mystery is understood. When an ornithologist finds a dead body in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri, he is in for a shock, for he doesn’t quite understand what he’s supposed to do. As he learns the repercussions of his actions, his choices further push him into a web of diplomacy, secrets, betrayal and hidden agendas that might lead to collateral damage. Guy Fletcher’s journey through the hot and humid lands and the snow-capped peaks in the Himalayas make him realize how selfish and dishonest everyone is!
I felt that the titular pun, Birdwatching, is what made this story more interesting for me. Where each chapter is titled after a bird and the first paragraph describes the features of that very bird, it didn’t take a second to associate the idea of observing the surroundings with the act of birdwatching. While Fletcher tries to escape the chaos that Delhi has brought into his life, the CIA has other plans. Upon landing in the mountains, Fletcher learns his lesson the hard way. Who’s to blame is what keeps driving him crazy. His association with Afridi and Kesang Sherpa add to the suspicion. Set in the backdrop of the Indo-Sino War, Birdwatching will surely be enjoyed by lovers of History. I cannot say that this is a drawback but I couldn’t concentrate on the middle half of the plot owing to its references to cultural folklore. I’m just not a fan! But tying the loose ends together, I did sympathize with Fletcher for his forced inclusion in a ploy that was never meant to honour his skills.
Birdwatching is wickedly sharp so much so that it’s perfect for the mystery mavens who have been craving for something nice for a long time!
Best wishes to the author!
Buy this book from here: Amazon