Deep South (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)

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9780399145865: Deep South (Anna Pigeon Mysteries)
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Park Ranger Anna Pigeon stumbles upon a gruesome murder with frightening racial overtones in the latest installment of the bestselling series.

"What lifts the Anna Pigeon novels far above most of the other contemporary amateur sleuth mysteries is Barr's exquisite writing--it swoops, it soars, sails then catches you unawares beneath the heart and takes your breath away," proclaimed the Cleveland Plain Dealer of last year's Liberty Falling. In Deep South, Nevada Barr takes our breath away once again as her heroine travels cross-country to Mississippi, only to encounter terrible secrets in the heart of the south.

The handwritten sign on the tree said it all: REPENT. For Anna Pigeon, this should have been reason enough to turn back for her beloved Mesa Verde. Instead she heads for the Natchez Trace Parkway and the promotion that awaits her. Almost immediately, she finds herself in the midst of controversy: as the new district ranger, she faces resentment so extreme her ability to do her job may be compromised, and her life may very well be in danger. But all thoughts of personal safety are set aside with the discovery of a young girl's body in a country cemetery, a sheet around her head, a noose around her neck.

The kudzu is thick and green, the woods dark and full of secrets. And the ghosts of violence hover as Anna struggles for answers to questions that, perhaps, should never be asked. Deep South proves that, "like the parks and monuments she writes of, Nevada Barr should be declared a national treasure" (The Bloomsbury Review).

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Review:

After her urban adventures on New York's Ellis Island in Liberty Falling, park ranger Anna Pigeon has finally "heeded the ticking of her bureaucratic clock" and signed on for a promotion in the boonies: district ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Anna's mental images of Mississippi come from black-and-white stock photos from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, so it's not surprising that she finds it beautiful but strange, its residents caught in a teased-hair, fried-food time warp. But she's got more than an unhealthy diet to worry about--as the first female district ranger on the Trace, she immediately encounters more than a few good ol' boys and local miscreants who resent her authority, especially after a 17-year-old beauty is murdered on a booze-soaked prom night near the Trace, her head covered with a KKK-style sheet.

There are plenty of reasons her friends and family might have wanted Danielle Posey dead, ranging from her $40,000 insurance policy to jealousy to flat-out insanity. Anna wonders whether the sheet's a red herring, but she can't dismiss it entirely. Though the local culture's no longer built around segregation, racism still exists at a deep level that Anna finds unsettling. Both Danielle Posey and the prime suspect--her boyfriend--are white, but Danielle had secrets her friends won't reveal. Still, no one else appears to be in danger, until a prankster--or could it be a murderer?--sets an alligator loose in Anna's garage (nearly killing her faithful black Lab, Taco) and a local preacher commits suicide.

With the help of the handsome local sheriff, Paul Davidson, Anna pulls together clues from local history, Civil War reenactors, and the Mississippi mud and kudzu. Anna Pigeon's one tough bird--she survives not only a little alligator wrestling but also a brutal attack that leads her to the truth of what happened to Danielle Posey and why. What's most fascinating is how much of her famous emotional shield she lets slip in the process. --Barrie Trinkle

About the Author:

Award-winning Nevada Barr is the author of seven previous Anna Pigeon mysteries, including Liberty Falling. She lives in Mississippi, where she was most recently a ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

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