Ranger Anna Pigeon takes her tour of national parks to the Dry Tortugas, an idyllic preserve seventy miles off the coast of Key West. Even in this island paradise, Anna cannot escape murder. A mysterious boat explosion and the discovery of seemingly unidentifiable body parts catapults our intrepid investigator out of arcadia and into dire crimes both past and present. Like its nine predecessors, this Anna Pigeon mystery abounds in local atmosphere and memorable characters.
The Barnes & Noble Review
Flashback finds Park Ranger Anna Pigeon mingling past mysteries with present dangers in one of the most exotic of America's national parks. To give herself time to sort out her feelings, after an unexpected proposal of marriage from her sheriff/priest boyfriend, Anna takes a short-term post as supervisory ranger on Garden Key, in Dry Tortugas National Park. This remote series of islands in the Florida Keys offers visitors beautiful scenery combined with fascinating history. Garden Key itself is the site of Fort Jefferson, where the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination were held along with Confederate prisoners of war. The crumbling fortress holds special significance for Anna, whose several-times-great-aunt Raffia lived at the fort when her husband was posted there…especially after Anna's sister sends her a packet of letters Raffia wrote there after the Civil War. When not fantasizing about that long-ago time, Anna splits her attention between dealing with work, scuba diving, and wondering what really happened to the previous ranger (rumored to have gone crazy after his girlfriend left him). Then strange things begin to happen. The assistant ranger is lost at sea, a small craft blows up, and the bodies of the crew prove impossible to identify…and Anna, hardheaded, rational Anna, finds herself adrift in visions involving Raffia and one of the men accused of conspiring to kill President Lincoln. As Anna struggles to untangle herself from deadly puzzles, past and present, she uncovers a modern conspiracy that could end in a devastating bloodbath. Sue Stone
When it comes to a vibrant sense of place, Barr has few equals, as deliciously demonstrated in her 11th Anna Pigeon novel (after 2002's Hunting Season), set in little-known Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles off Key West in the Gulf of Mexico. Anna takes up her new post on Garden Key, home to Fort Jefferson, a notorious Union prison during the Civil War, after fleeing a marriage proposal from just-divorced Sheriff Paul Davidson. As she goes about her duties, Anna quickly becomes ensnared in one life-threatening situation after another. Anna's fans expect no less; all her postings somehow turn dangerous. Indeed, the contrast between the natural beauty of the landscapes and the human evils within them is a recurring theme. But this one has an added twist: a mystery concerning alleged Lincoln assassination conspirator Dr. Samuel Mudd interweaves with current crimes. In a coincidence best left unscrutinized, Anna's great-great-great-aunt was the wife of the fort's commanding officer, and her letters, relating a story of intrigue and murder, have surfaced. The two stories are told in alternating chapters, and only Barr's skill keeps this familiar device fresh. The pitch-perfect 19th-century phrasing in the letters makes it easy to forgive the occasional over-the-top prose in the modern scenes. But this is a quibble. Those who already admire the doughty National Park ranger will rejoice in this double-layered story with its remarkable setting, passionately rendered; new readers have a treat in store. (Feb. 10) Forecast: Backed by a 20-city author tour, this one will shoot up the bestseller lists. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
When Anna Pigeon flees a marriage proposal for ranger service on Garden Key in Dry Tortugas National Park, she finds that the past (the island was once a prison) and the present (an exploding boat scatters unidentified body parts) are eerily conjoined. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Seventy miles west of Key West is Dry Tortugas National Park, home to tiny Garden Key, Fort Jefferson, and now Anna Pigeon, in retreat from importunate Episcopal priest/sheriff Paul Davidson (Hunting Season, 2002). The supervising ranger's position is open on an interim basis because the last supervisor, Lanny Wilcox, was placed on medical leave after Theresa Alvarez, his Cuban girlfriend, left him and he flipped out and began seeing things. Anna's been on the island only a few days when she begins to wonder whether she's following in Lanny's footsteps. She's been absorbed in the endless bundle of letters her sister Molly has sent her from their great-great-aunt Raffia Coleman to her sister about the hardships of life on the island in 1865, when Fort Jefferson was pressed into service to house a thousand Confederate prisoners of war. And now Anna could swear she's seen Aunt Raffia herself wandering the grounds. Is somebody playing with her head? Is she going crazy? Or is she stressed out from the discovery of a mysterious burned-out boat and the undersea search for clues about its casualties that almost kills her? Anna won't know till she's made it through Aunt Raffia's interspersed letters, which raise questions of their own about the guilt of Dr. Samuel Mudd, held in Fort Jefferson after setting assassin John Wilkes Booth's broken leg. Fans looking for Barr's trademark pleasures-evocative natural descriptions, mounting suspense, Anna's never-say-die spirit-will have to look hard to find them buried under all those mysteries, villains, and centuries in this most grandly scaled of her 11 adventures.