The Birds That Stay

The Birds That Stay


By Ann Lambert

History Will Not Stay Buried

In a small village in the Laurentians north of Montreal, a reclusive older woman is found strangled and frozen outside her home. Roméo Leduc, the enigmatic Chief Inspector for Homicide, is one day away from his first vacation in years, and reluctantly answers the call on the case. Roméo suspects a local biker gang is involved in what appears to be a robbery gone awry—or was the old woman a victim of a violent hate crime?

Marie Russell, a writer and divorced mother of two, lives next door to the victim. Marie becomes an inadvertent detective when her mother, suffering from dementia, offers a startling clue that links the woman’s murder to a terrible incident that happened on Marie’s suburban Montreal street in the 1970's. Together, Marie and Roméo discover that the murder goes even further back, to another crime during the darkest days in Hungary at the end of WWII. As they combine wits to find the killer, they are forced to face demons from their own pasts as they confront a cast of characters from the Quebec of yesterday and today; where no one and nothing is really as it seems.

Book One — A Russell and Leduc Mystery

Add to cart

About the Author

Ann Lambert has been writing and directing for the stage for thirty-five years. Several of her plays, including The Wall, Parallel Lines, Very Heaven, The Mary Project and Two Short Women have been performed in theatres in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. She has been a teacher of English literature at Dawson College for almost twenty-eight years in Montreal, Quebec, where she makes her home.

Get the E-Book

Praise for The Birds That Stay

“TEN THRILLERS THAT WILL KEEP YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT UNTIL SUMMERTIME… The setting is the Laurentians, north of Montreal. That leads one to inevitably think of Louise Penny’s Three Pines, but let the comparison stop there. Yes, both are rural and very Quebec, but Lambert is telling a very different story in a very different way.” - Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail

"Layers of a mysterious past must be unraveled to solve a murder in the present in this intimate journey through time. Ann Lambert's novel is an honest rendering of Quebec life and a faithful tale of one woman's experiences when confronted by danger, by life's daily complications and psychic mutations." — John Farrow, author of The Storm Murders Trilogy

"The Birds That Stay feels on the one hand like one of those intimate, emotionally meandering phone conversations with a close friend that the protagonist Marie is nostalgic for and on the other hand like a suspenseful piece of deliciously escapist fiction. It strikes a familiar chord in its depiction of uniquely Québécois subcultures but also in its frank portrayal of universal themes: family dynamics, aging parents, midlife erasure, trauma and regret. I devoured the book in 72 hours and am impatiently awaiting the next instalment." — Michaela Di Cesare, award-winning playwright of Successions and 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived

"The Birds That Stay is not only a masterful mystery novel debut, but also a thoroughly pleasurable adult read. Ann Lambert creates an utterly convincing crime setting in a seemingly calm Laurentian town outside Montreal, where suppressed secrets from the past violently ricochet into the present. I can't wait to read Lambert's next one." — Megan Williams, author and CBC Correspondent

The Birds That Stay is populated with complex characters, not one of whom has been untouched by some form of trauma, be it divorce, addiction, abuse, abandonment, or betrayal. The skillful way in which these characters are rendered is part of what makes the book so engaging.” - Montreal Review of Books

"...a fascinating and gripping tale of suspense, and there’s even a hint of romance here." - New York Journal of Books

“With many references to Quebec that will be familiar to those who know the province, the book may also appeal to fans of Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache series.” - Press-Republican

“In her debut murder mystery, Ann Lambert manages to elevate an escapist genre into a meditation on the repercussions of horrendous crimes on generations to come.” - The Canadian Jewish News

“The Birds That Stay is a very good read.” - The Senior Times

“This was an enjoyment to read, especially in this cold weather. Definitely a gripping read.” - Sinful Halo , book blog

“I highly recommend The Birds That Stay for its characterization, sense of place and well-plotted mystery. I am already looking forward to the next in the series.” - Not a Book Snob, book blog

Product Information

  • Release: February 19, 2019

  • $19.95 Paperback

  • 331 Pages

  • 8.5 x 5.5

  • Adult Fiction - Mystery

  • ISBN: 9781772600919

Awards for The Birds That Stay

  • Quebec Writers' Federation – Concordia University First Book Prize 2019 – Shortlisted