Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Reveiw: The Birds by Daphne du Maurier

Real Birds Wouldn't Pose Again, But Even The Fake Ones Look Like They're Up To No Good
Okay, technically the short story The Birds is not a cozy mystery. However, I do recall post a while back about The Birds the movie, and since that got me curious about the short story it was based on, and the author Daphne du Maurier (of Rebecca fame) did write mysteries I figured it was the blogs’ fault in the first place so I’m posting it.
First question I know you are going to ask. Was it as scary as the movie? No.
It was way scarier.
Of course my state of mind might be a little off (yeah I know isn’t it always?) when a few days before I read The Birds an Angry Bird of some sort swooped down at me, for no reason whatsoever (really!) while I was minding my own business just going into a store. I actually felt its little belly rubbing against the top of my head, and it was so fast that I didn’t even see what kind of bird it was. Don’t worry, no damage done, but isn’t it the wrong time of year for them to be defending their nests or whatever their excuse is for swooping at people?
You’d think it had read my post where I call birds creepy. Of course that would mean that birds can read, and have access to a computer and know how to surf the web…
Did I mention birds are creepy?
Creepiness aside, you may wonder how a story about birds could possibly be scary. I mean we don’t really take them all that seriously as a threat now do we? Well I do, but then I have turkey vultures hanging around the creepy trees in the back of my place. I know, life is conspiring to give me a bird and tree phobia. Still aside from those neighbors what could possibly make our feathered friends scary?
How about this. What if the birds all got together, I mean all of them, got organized, and decided to take over at the top of the food chain? This means they decided that we would make for good eating.
See what I mean about creepy?
Well this is supposed to be a review, so here’s the plot in brief. Farm laborer notices that the birds are acting strange. Farm laborer and children are attacked in their home that same night by swallows. Wife thinks he’s exaggerating the whole thing. Why do wives always think that? Anyway, the next day the birds are amassing into large groups, and flying every which way as if they have a specific purpose in mind. Farm laborer senses the birds are up to no good. He’s right but no one takes him seriously. Do they ever? Their lack of concern is explained by one character asking what can birds do? A heck of a lot as it turns out. Well at least the wife is taking him more seriously. The laborer is determined to protect his family from the bird threat, but the situation does not look good for humanity.
What I really liked about the short story, and I liked it a lot, is it better explains what is going on with the birds than the movie did. Now I say this as a fan of the movie. Hitchcock was a master filmmaker, but the movie shows the birds running amok, but the explanation, or theorizing, of the behavior is not clear enough. At least I never got it.
But in the short story the birds are a ruthless, invading army dedicated to total annihilation of the enemy. Us.
There is this one description of a gannet, a really big seabird, preparing itself for an attack that will definitely take out our hero which was terrifying.
See? I told you birds were creepy. No one ever listens to me.
So if you like the scary (but not gross) stuff The Birds is good reading.
Although you might want to reconsider that bird feeder.

Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of The Reboot Files a Christian Mystery Series. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories with just a bit of whopper in them. She has a degree in Theatre Arts which greatly influenced her writing style. Working in various fields as a secretary has allowed her to both master her writing skills and acquire valuable technical knowledge which she uses liberally in her plots. She loves to embroider and knit and is a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons.
Current E-Books
THE REBOOT FILES:  The Mystery of Hurtleberry House, The Island of Living Trees, The Harbinger of Retribution, and The Wrong Ghost.


  1. I never knew where "The Birds" originated from. Interesting - and I agree - birds can be creepy! Look at parrots who mimic what people say and mockingbirds who think it's their job to keep people awake all night with their proverbial search for who they really are. And to think they're our state bird!

    Thanks for the fun post as always, Cindy!

    ~Nancy Jill
    Author of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries

  2. I didn't know there was one either until someone mentioned The Birds movie in this blog and I got to wondering.
    See what happens when an idea gets in my head?
    Mocking bird huh? Well at least the turkey vultures are quiet at night. I couldn't tell you what they do with their days, not that I want to know.

  3. Cukoos are incredibly to someone else's nest, lay an egg exactly like the ones already there, even if last time it laid an egg it looked way different, and then fly away, so that the other mamma can brood over the egg. Then, when the cukoo egg hatches earlier than the other ones, mamma stops brooding, starts feeding baby cukoo. To add insult to injury (or vice versa) when the mamma's eggs finally hatch, the cukoo baby kicks them out of the nest to their sad demise! They're brood parasites, a terrifying concept used to good effect in many a horror film!


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