A Bird in the Hand is the first novel featuring George and Molly Palmer-Jones by Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland and Vera Stanhope crime series. In England's birdwatching paradise, a new breed has been sighted – a murderer . . . Young Tom French was found dead, lying in a marsh on the Norfolk coast, with his head bashed in and his binoculars still around his neck. One of the best birders in England, Tom had put the village of Rushy on the birdwatching map. Everyone liked him. Or did they? George Palmer-Jones, an elderly birdwatcher who decided quietly to look into the brutal crime, discovered mixed feelings aplenty. Still, he remained baffled by a deed that could have been motivated by thwarted love, pure envy, or something else altogether. But as he and his fellow "twitchers" flocked from Norfolk to Scotland to the Scilly Isles, in response to rumours of rare sightings, George – with help from his lovely wife, Molly – gradually discerned the true markings of a killer. All he had to do was prove it . . . before the murderer strikes again.
This volume provides a comprehensive survey of series characters created by women authors in crime and mystery fiction from 1867 to 1997. Divided into two sections, the first half of the book categorizes 187 characters created since 1976, while the second half presents a master list, alphabetically arranged by author's name and cross-referenced by pseudonyms, and a series character to author list.