Imagine Nevada Barr's delight in discovering that there is actually a national park right smack in the middle of New York City--Gateways Park, which encompasses Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. She could continue her splendid series
about park ranger Anna Pigeon and still do some serious shopping at Bendel's and Berghdorf's, the kind of stores you don't find in the New Mexico cave setting of Blind Descent
(her last adventure). The ploy works: Barr is probably the only mystery writer who could see a natural environment under New York's slick and sleazy skin.
Anna is in Manhattan to look after her sister Molly, seriously ill with pneumonia and a kidney infection. Pigeon moves in with a ranger friend who has a place on Ellis Island. There's not much natural wildlife unless you count her feathered namesakes, but she still manages to find a lot to contemplate--especially the suspicious suicide of a teenage girl who leaps from Liberty's ledge, followed not long after by the security guard who tried to stop her. But Anna's snooping puts her own life in jeopardy. She survives several attacks and a near drowning--events as frightening as any of the fires, floods, and hurricanes from her past adventures. Barr neatly ties up her plot--ending with a brilliant chase scene across the waters from Manhattan to Liberty Island. What next for Anna? Is there a national park in Las Vegas? --Dick Adler
From Publishers Weekly
Tenacious park ranger Anna Pigeon leaves the country wilderness for the wilds of New York City, where her sister Molly is hospitalized, in this seventh installment of Barr's popular series (Blind Descent, etc.). Although Anna is on leave, she gets involved in the investigation of two murders. An unidentified child falls to her death from the Statue of Liberty. The main suspect dies. Anna is attacked. An actress is fatally bludgeoned on Ellis Island. Anna's conviction that these events are connected leads to a cross-country search for a right-wing fanatic. As expected with Barr, the narrative teems with memorable characters-among them Charlie DeLeo, the caretaker of the Statue of Liberty's torch, and Anna's former lover, FBI Agent Frederick Stanton, now smitten with Molly. Though Barr ties up the many subplots in an action-packed finale, the mystery is slow to develop and there's little doubt that Molly will recover. Barr's atmospherics remain potent, however. Her evocation of the isolated, exotic nature of the two famous tourist attractions is a particular treat, bringing home how nature is inexorably reclaiming buildings and records a stone's throw from bustling Manhattan. Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.