RogerBW's Blog

A Superior Death, Nevada Barr 02 July 2016

1994 mystery, second in Barr's Anna Pigeon series, murder mysteries in US National Parks. In the Isle Royale park off the Michigan coast, one of the dive operators turns up dead in a long-sunken shipwreck.

This is a book that gets off to a much quicker start than the first, and manages to introduce us to the first victim before his death. But Anna is also still feeling her way into the local community, having only just transferred in, and she's having to sort out her impressions of who might potentially be trustworthy at the same time as trying to track down a murderer – when even reaching the crime scene is a technical diving challenge.

(And as a scuba diver, though I've never done anything this extreme, I didn't spot any technical errors in the diving sequences, one of which forms the climax of the book.)

There are secondary mysteries too, as everyone seems to have a secret and most of them might have been driven to murder to keep them, and they'll all get revealed at least to Anna if not to the world. There's rather less description of the unique location in this book, and rather more of the people; which works, but it seems a bit of a waste of the place. (Barr revisited it in 2008's Winter Study.)

This isn't a deep book, but it is a very twisty one. Followed by Ill Wind.

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