Park Ranger Anna Pigeon finally signs on for a promotion, but the next thing she knows, she's knee-deep in mud and Mississippi. As the new director of the Natchez Trace, Anna discovers the body of a young prom queen near a country cemetery, a sheet around her head and a noose around her neck. It's a bizarre twist on a best-forgotten past of frightening racial undertones.
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.
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January 31, 2001
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