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Deep South

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About the Author

Formerly an actress and a park ranger, Nevada Barr is now an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling novelist and creator of the Anna Pigeon mysteries, and numerous other books and short stories. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and various pets.


Barbara Rosenblat here narrates her seventh Anna Pigeon mystery. This time Pigeon travels to Mississippi to take up a new job as a district ranger, and Rosenblat is given the opportunity to display a whole new range of accents. She skillfully uses appropriate Southern accents and various timbres to delineate ages and sexes of characters. The setting on the Natchez Trace Parkway is key to both the mood and the plot. Pigeon helplessly contrasts the vigorous verdancy of Mississippi with the sparse desert of her most recent home, New Mexico, as she tries to get her bearings and solve a tragic death on the Trace. Pigeon is a stranger in a strange land, yet her Southern experiences fumbling into her new role as supervisor; adjusting to humidity, kudzu, and mud; facing the death of a teenage beauty queen; wrestling with an alligator in her carport; drinking early morning coffee with Confederates in her campground; guzzling whiskey with peanut butter sandwiches in a truck with a sympathetic colleague; and feeling a reluctant attraction to the local sheriff (also an Episcopal priest) are colorful and absorbing. Recommended. Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Since 1993 and Track of the Cat, Barr has been writing about National Park ranger Anna Pigeon. Each novel has been set in a different park, but one constant has been how the gutsy and deeply independent Anna has drawn her strength from, and maintained her sanity by, living among some of the most glorious and remote landscapes in America. Now, having decided that she needs to think about her financial future, Anna has snagged a promotion to district ranger. The catch is that she must leave her beloved Western parks behind and move to the Port Gibson section of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi. There's no wilderness here, and she feels overwhelmed by the humidity, the streams of tourists and campers and the ever-encroaching kudzu vines. But then Anna discovers one teenage girl in a prom dress dead drunk in an old cemetery and another murdered in the deep woods of the Trace, with a KKK-type hood and noose tied over her head. Anna and the local sheriff uncover plenty of suspects and motives as they team up to investigate. As the first woman ranger in the district, Anna must also learn to deal with male subordinates who challenge her authority. Whether Anna, for whom the solitude of the wilderness has always been essential, can find her equilibrium remains to be seen. But Barr produces another suspenseful and highly atmospheric mystery, illuminated even in this new setting by her trademark lyricism in writing about the natural world. Author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

YA-This eighth mystery in the series, set in the Natchez Trace Parkway, is a real disappointment. When the body of a 15-year-old girl dressed for her prom is found half buried along the old portion of the trail, U.S. Parks Ranger Anna Pigeon must deal with sex discrimination and racial problems as well as adjust to the intricate culture of a small Mississippi town in order to solve the case. The story lacks the exciting plot and tension of some of the series' previous bestsellers such as Firestorm (1996) and Blind Descent (1998, both Putnam). Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Vivid prose, a surprising plot... Barr solidifies her position as the preeminent writer of outdoor mysteries." -Booklist (starred review) "What lifts the Anna Pigeon novels far above most other contemporary amateur sleuth mysteries is Barr's exquisite writing-it swoops, it soars, sails then catches you unawares beneath the heart and takes your breath away." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer "Surprising." -Booklist (starred review) "Luminous." -Library Journal

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