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A Little Bird

A Little Bird

By Wendy Jamespaperback1 January 2022
$24.99
or 4 payments of $6.25 with Learn more
Booklovers earn $1.20 in rewards

A homecoming snares a young woman in a dangerous tangle of lies, secrets, and bad blood in this gripping novel by the bestselling author of An Accusation.

Running from a bad relationship, journalist Jo Sharpe heads home to Arthurville, the drought-stricken town she turned her back on years earlier. While some things have changed — her relationship with her ailing, crotchety father, her new job at the community newspaper —Jo finds that her return has rekindled the grief and uncertainty she experienced during her childhood following the inexplicable disappearance of her mother and baby sister.

Returning to Arthurville has its unexpected pleasures, though, as Jo happily reconnects with old friends and makes a few new ones. But she can’t let go of her search for answers to that long-ago mystery. And as she keeps investigating, the splash she’s making begins to ripple outward — far beyond the disappearance of her mother and sister.

Jo is determined to dig as deep as it takes to get answers. But it’s not long before she realises that someone among the familiar faces doesn’t want her picking through the debris of the past. And they’ll go to any lengths to silence the little bird before she sings the truth.

PRODUCT DETAILS

  • Title: A Little Bird
  • Author: Wendy James
  • Publisher: Amazon Publishing
  • ISBN: 9781542026482
  • Languages: English
  • Subtitle: A Novel
  • Format: PaperBack
  • Category: General Fiction
  • Publication Date: 01/01/2022
  • Pages: 320

RATINGS & REVIEW

21/12/2021 9:16:52 AM - Sarah
An evocative rural Australian mystery-thriller
A Little Bird is an engrossing slow-burn small town mystery, set in rural western New South Wales, Australia. Leaving behind a journalism career in the city, Jo Sharpe returns to her hometown, (fictional) Arthurville, taking up a job telling "good news" stories in the community newspaper, the Chronicle. Arthurville holds complex and bittersweet memories and associations for Jo - she has a dysfunctional relationship with her aging, ailing father, and is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her mother, Merry, and baby sister over twenty years previously. In the course of interviewing locals for stories, reconnecting with several past friends and acquaintances - including a couple of old flames - and enduring an awkward meeting with her mother's estranged family, Jo begins to scratch Arthurville's dusty surface, slowly uncovering secrets from the past. She comes across a cache of her mother's notes from when Merry herself worked at the Chronicle in the 1990s, including writing the newspaper's anonymous "A Little Bird" column, in which the embarrassing and dirty secrets of locals are alluded to. Did Merry unwittingly uncover a dangerous secret, and could that be behind her sudden disappearance from Arthurville, or was that secret her own? Wendy James's evocative prose captures the dry, relentless heat of the Australian interior, and the feel of a community that has suffered years of deprivation and disappointment caused by drought. Her characters are flawed and multi-dimensional, relationships developing in understanding and complexity over the course of the story. The dual timeline narrative allows the underlying mystery plot to unfurl gradually and enticingly, as Jo closes in on the shocking truth of her mother and sister's fate. I found A Little Bird to be a worthy addition to the ever-growing canon of Australian rural and regional crime fiction, and would enthusiastically recommend this title to readers who enjoy reading the work of authors such as Jane Harper, Sarah Bailey and Garry Disher. Like those authors, Wendy James combines a rich sense of setting, a cast of varied but believable characters and a well-conceived plot to weave an intriguing and satisfying mystery-thriller.
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19/11/2021 4:59:23 PM - Marianne
impressive Australian rural crime fiction
4.5★s A Little Bird is the ninth novel by award-winning, best-selling Australian author, Wendy James. After fourteen years in the city, journalist Josephine Sharpe returns to her hometown of Arthurville for a number of reasons: the end of a toxic relationship and an ailing father make the job offer from the Arthurville Chronicle seem more attractive that it might otherwise be. In this small-budget publication funded by subscriptions and wealthy donors, her brief is to report only the positive aspects of the town’s happenings. Catching up with old friends and acquaintances is how she escapes too much time with her cantankerous Dad. Underlying it all, though, is something they never talk about: how her mother drove away with her baby sister, Amy when Jo was eight, and never returned. A note left behind, and a letter later sent to her estranged mother, Ruth Beaufort, these were the last anyone ever heard from Miranda Sharpe. But now, remarks from people who knew Merry, casual comments, have Jo wondering just what she missed understanding at eight years old. She discovers a box at the Chronicle that seems to indicate Merry wrote the anonymous gossip column, A Little Bird, with its light, amusing take on the town’s people and events, though occasionally laced with malice. And while her father has always been unforthcoming about his wife’s departure, friends are less reticent, and she begins to wonder if her mother really chose to leave her. And then an accidental discovery changes everything… Jo and Merry narrate this dual-timeline mystery. It is a novel in which the plot, replete with twists and red herrings, keeps the pages turning and even the most astute reader guessing about quite what happened to Merry Sharpe, until the pieces of the puzzle fall, chillingly, into place. James effortlessly evokes the Australian country town vibe and her characters are easily recognisable to anyone who has lived in one. Just one thing unfortunately diminishes the reader’s enjoyment of this excellent tale: parts of the back-cover blurb are quite misleading, creating an expectation in the reader that leads to frustration when it is not realised because some aspects mentioned don’t occur until well after the eighty per cent mark, if at all. Nonetheless, this is impressive Australian rural crime fiction. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing
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SHIPPING AND RETURNS


 

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