By Nevada Barr
Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Berkley Books, 2004, 1995c
Genre: Mystery, eco-fiction
Series: Anna Pigeon mysteries; 3
Intended audience: Adult
Number of pages: 309
Setting: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Time period: mid 1990s
Plot summary: Anna Pigeon recently transferred to Mesa Verde National Park for a promotion. She arrived just as the park is replacing old waterlines to public buildings. Many of the park’s staff are distressed by the digging for pipelines in this archeologically rich area. There have also been an unusually high number of visitors who have had to be carried out from Cliff Palace this summer. Worst of all, though, is the death of a friend and co-worker, Stacy Meyers.
Pacing: The first third of the book has a slower and somewhat erratic pace. After Stacy’s death, the pace picks up considerably and remains constant.
Characterization: Told in third person through Anna. There are many interesting characters in this story, most of whom are Anna’s co-workers. Readers learn more about Anna’s personal challenges in this book.
Frame: Mesa Verde National Park is both wondrous and beautiful, but also very mysterious. What happened to the people who built the dwellings and lived and died there? No graveyards have ever been found. The mysteries of Mesa Verde are intertwined with the more immediate mystery of Stacy’s death.
Story line: An intriguing and entertaining tale filled with suspicious characters and much malaise.
Pigeon, Anna (Fictitious character) — Fiction.
Women park rangers — Fiction.
Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.) — Fiction.
Colorado — Fiction.
Similar authors: (From NoveList) Lise Mcclendon, Karen Kijewski, Dana Stabenow, Deborah Crombie, Marcia Muller, Taffy Cannon, Jessica Speart, Sue Grafton
Personal notes: I didn’t care for this book as much as Track of the Cat or Hard Truth. I found many of the characters to be annoying. I did enjoy Frederick the Fed when he showed up – about halfway through the story.
Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – female park ranger, child with dwarfism