The grade: A-
Makes me want to read: more Nevada Barr!
My thoughts: At a recent book group, we were talking about some of our favorite heroines in books. After I praised Amelia Peabody of Elizabeth Peters’ fabulous mystery series, one of the other members recommended I try the Nevada Barr books. I found a copy of Track of the Cat at my library, and I LOVED it. I don’t know how I went so long without reading Nevada Barr!
Our heroine is Anna Pigeon, a park ranger for the National Park Service. Each book takes place at a different national park. Track of the Cat is set in Guadaloup Mountains in West Texas, the one I’m currently reading is near Mesa Verde in Colorado and the next one on my list is at Lake Superior. I live in Maine, home of Acadia National Park, where my aunt works. She says that while Anna Pigeon has not yet turned up there, Nevada Barr was there a few summers ago doing research, so hopefully Anna will soon be visiting my lovely home state.
In Track of the Cat, Anna discovers a fellow park ranger dead, seemingly from a lion attack. Not all the evidence fits, (e.g. the paw prints are both front paws) so Anna begins investigating in an effort to learn the truth and prove the mountain lions’ innocence. The nearby ranchers are always looking for an excuse to exterminate the lions and Anna is desperate to protect her four-legged friends.
Mystery is my genre fiction of choice, namely old-school mysteries in which the detective solves the mystery through detecting, not forensic evidence. I’m not a CSI person. A Park Ranger detective is a great take on the profession. I still remember by Genres of Popular Fiction college class in which we discussed the various professions of fictional detectives. I don’t know of any other park ranger detectives, so immediate points to Ms. Barr for creativity.
I like that each book is set in a different national park–it adds an element of travel to the mystery and Barr (a former park ranger) does a wonderful job describing the park and the National Park Service culture. In general I love her writing style; I shared a few examples of her prose for my Teaser Tuesday post on Track of the Cat.
I suspect the Nevada Barr mysteries will be one of my favorite series, and can’t wait to read more.