JILL Dawson is an award-winning novelist and poet. The Language Of Birds is based on the story of Lord Lucan and is set in 1970s London. Mandy and Rosemary work as nannies for aristocratic families and the book explores the freedom enjoyed by the young women escaping small villages to enjoy the anonymity of the big city. Both Mandy and Rosemary have had mental health problems and Mandy is sympathetic to her boss Katharine, Lady Morven, who is struggling with depression, while Rosemary is more inclined to side with the charismatic Earl. Dawson brings Mandy’s warm, empathetic character fully to life, while Rosemary’s gullible, eager-to-please Norland nanny persona is intriguingly irritating. The story is of domestic details, family dramas, private detectives, country house holidays and occasional chilling atmospheres pointing towards tragedy, all brilliantly told.