Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Winter Study by Nevada Barr

Main character: Park Ranger Anna Pigeon
Location: Isle Royal, Lake Superior National Park
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Series: Anna Pigeon National Park Mysteries #14

Time for another adult mystery break. I have read the Anna Pigeon books from the very first one, Track of the Cat, but I really became a fan with the 4th book, Firestorm. That book, with a murder occurring during a flashfire, was such an intriguing twist on the locked room mystery--one that took place totally outdoors--that I have avidly anticipated every book since.

Winter Study finds Anna Pigeon back up in Isle Royale (the location of the 2nd book, A Superior Death) joining the winter wolf study. Her own home park, the Rocky Mountain National Park, will soon be reintroducing wolves and she wants to learn more about them. Anna joins a small group of scientists and a Homeland Security bureaucrat who is supposed to determine whether the Canadian border is a security hole that needs to be plugged year-round--an action that would effectively shut down the annual wolf study.

Naturally, once Anna arrives on the island, winter weather shuts down all access to it--no one can leave, no one can arrive, cell phones don't work, internet communications are down. And then one of the researchers is killed, apparently mauled by wolves. Shades of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None!

I really love Anna Pigeon. She has grown a lot in the 15 years since we first met her in the Guadalupe Mountains. Then she was a bitter misanthrope, mourning the death of her husband, drinking too much, and preferring solitude to the company of people. Now she has given up drinking and remarried, though her job does keep her away from her husband much of the time. She has made connections with others and now has something--someone--to live for. She hasn't totally lost her cynicism though--there are too many people doing truly ugly things for that.

Please do be aware that while most of the books I've reviewed here have been suitable for teens, this one is definitely an adult book.

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