A Prey to Murder

by Ann Cleeves  1989

IMG_1044Eleanor Masefield could be very difficult to handle, but murdering her seemed a bit extreme…

It was Eleanor Masefield’s own idea to sponsor an Open Day at her beautiful Gorse Hill Hotel – a celebration designed to raise funds for the protection of the local peregrine falcons that had been the obsession of her late husband.

But by teatime on Open Day Eleanor lay dead in the weathering grounds of the beautiful birds of prey that had been a major attraction of the afternoon.

Amateur detective George Palmer-Jones, who had always been a little in love with Eleanor, vowed to find her murderer.


This is the fourth book in the George and Molly Palmer-Jones series.George is an elderly birdwatcher – helped by his wife Molly. I didn’t even know Cleeves had other books besides Vera and Shetland! There are eight in this series and the first one, A Bird in Hand, was Cleeves first book published in 1986.

I really enjoyed this little book. The setting in the world of falconry, birds of prey conservationist and the illegal world of wild bird snatching for profit was quite interesting. And the lovely old home turned into a hotel was a nice touch. Interesting characters and family dynamics. I especially like the relationship between George and Molly.  Many good suspects and motives presented and I did not guess who did it! Well done, Ms. Cleeves!

I also have book six in this series. I’d like to find all of them and read them in order. They have been republished for Kindle and print on demand paperback at Amazon. I found my copies at a used book store. Have you read any of these?

A Bird in Hand
Come Death and High Water
Murder in Paradise
A Prey to Murder
Another Man’s Poison
Sea Fever
The Mill on the Shore
High Island Blues


This fulfills the “during a special event” category under “when” in the silver era Just the Facts Notebook @My Reader’s Block.

6 thoughts on “A Prey to Murder

  1. I have not read these yet, but I plan to try them eventually. I learned that Ann Cleeves’ husband is an ornithologist and they met while at a bird sanctuary. So, this series makes sense, right? As I read the Vera books, I noticed that she always commented on the birds. Hope you are able to read them all!

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    • Yep, Tracy, I wish I had the first ones too. They can be read individually but it would be nice to start at the beginning for George and Molly’s relationship. I’ve passed some of these books up before and now could kick myself!

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  2. I’ve read a Prey to Murder and The Mill on the Shore, as well as Dark Water, which isn’t part of this series. I don’t remember much about them, but that’s typical for me, but I must have liked them since I read more of hers.

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  3. I’ve never even heard of this writer, Peggy. Where have I been? But I love birds and bird lore and like the whole idea of mysteries set among bird lovers and whatnot. I’ll add this series to my TBR list.

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