Ill Wind

By Nevada Barr

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Berkley Books, 2004, 1995c

Genre: Mystery, eco-fiction

Series: Anna Pigeon mysteries; 3

ISBN: 9780425197257

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.

Appeal factors:

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.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Pigeon, Anna (Fictitious character) — Fiction.

Women park rangers — Fiction.

Mesa Verde National Park (Colo.) — Fiction.

Colorado — Fiction.

Mystery 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

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2 thoughts on “Ill Wind

  1. seattlehiker says:

    Where would a person find the text to read this story? Eco-fiction is something that’s always fascinated me, and I’ve wanted to know more about the Anasazi ever since reading Collapse ( by Jared Diamond ).

    • Sarah says:

      I would suggest checking for it in a library. If you live in Seattle, it looks like the public library has it there. You could also purchase it from Amazon or a local bookstore. Nevada Barr is a pretty popular writer. I picked up the copy I read at a local bookstore for a couple of bucks.

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