Amusing adventures ofa very shy bird lover

This novel follows the unlikely but amusing adventures of a man in love who does not quite know how to convey his feelings to the lady in question.

This story is set in Kenya, where former Nairobi resident Drayson introduces us to Mr Malik, a shy widower whose son recently died of Aids.

As a way of easing his pain, he goes on weekly excursions with the local birding club, led by the attractive Rose Mbikwa.

Shortly before the big social event of the year - the Nairobi Hunt Club Ball - the charming Harry Khan shows up. In their school days, more than 40 years ago, he had bullied Mr Malik. He is determined to beat him again by courting Rose.

Because both men are interested in inviting her to the ball, they decide on a gentleman's bet, to be adjudicated by members of the Nairobi Asadi Club.

The wager is for the right to invite Rose to the ball, a right that will be given to whoever identifies the greatest number of birds in one week. While he knows far more about womanising than birding, Harry wastes no timelining up a couple of ornithologically astute Australian tourists to help him out.

And because Harry is both rich and competitive, he hires a plane to take him to Mount Kenya to augment his week's list of birds. A good read!