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A Superior Death [Mass Market Paperback]

Nevada Barr
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 2 2003 An Anna Pigeon Novel (Book 2)

Park ranger Anna Pigeon returns, in a mystery that unfolds in and around Lake Superior, in whose chilling depths sunken treasure comes with a deadly price. In her latest mystery, Nevada Barr sends Ranger Pigeon to a new post amid the cold, deserted, and isolated beauty of Isle Royale National Park, a remote island off the coast of Michigan known for fantastic deep-water dives of wrecked sailing vessels. Leaving behind memories of the Texas high desert and the environmental scam she helped uncover, Anna is adjusting to the cool damp of Lake Superior and the spirits and lore of the northern Midwest. But when a routine application for a diving permit reveals a grisly underwater murder, Anna finds herself 260 feet below the forbidding surface of the lake, searching for the connection between a drowned man and an age-old cargo ship. Written with a naturalist's feel for the wilderness and a keen understanding of characters who thrive in extreme conditions, A Superior Death is a passionate, atmospheric page-turner.


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A Superior Death + Track of the Cat + Ill Wind
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In her second appearance, after Track of the Cat , National Park Service ranger Anna Pigeon is posted to an island in Lake Superior, where her interest in wildlife is fully engaged by the local population of humans. Two scuba-diving tourists exploring an old, submerged wreck discover a recent addition: the body of Denny Castle, who ran a commercial diving concession in the park. This makes Anna uneasy about the mysterious disappearance of Donna Butkus, wife of fellow ranger Scotty Butkus. Hawk Bradshaw, who worked with Denny, suggests that there was a link between Denny and Donna, but Hawk is less revealing about the nature of the relationship he and his twin sister had with the dead man and the impact Denny's recent marriage (to yet another woman) had on it. The Bradshaws aren't the only reticent ones here; indeed, Barr's characters hide enough unsavory secrets to keep a soap opera humming for months. Despite the wealth of personal intrigue, FBI agent Frederic Stanton looks for a drug connection to the murder: "I'm all for drugs . . . Takes the guesswork out of law enforcement." The levelheaded Anna is again a treat as she and a couple of minor characters whose lives don't verge on melodrama keep the story from floundering on the rocks. Mystery Guild alternate; paperback rights to Avon.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-Transferring to a ranger position at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, Anna Pigeon misses the Texas sun and heat of her former park. She cringes at the damp, penetrating cold that accompanies the foggy, gray days on Lake Superior. She swaps her horse for a boat but continues to be surrounded by dead bodies in her second mystery. The strange corpse she encounters on her new job is that of a well-known diver. She finds it in the engine room of a ship that sank at the turn of the century with the five original crew still aboard. Those corpses have been preserved by the frigid lake waters and are a grim "tourist attraction" for scuba divers. As Anna seeks the identity of the killer, she is never far from the northern woods, characterized by their earthy scents, lingering midday chill, and multitude of flora and fauna. While detecting, she tries to sort out her feelings about life, her status as a widow, and her need for solitude interspersed with friendships. She is a captivating, daredevil detective whose adventures will delight mystery readers.
Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique Page-Turner June 6 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When reading Nevada Barr, it's wise to remember that it's not the mystery, but the medium. In this second of the delightful Anna Pigeon series, our intrepid Park Ranger is stationed at Lake Superior, probably the most unforgiving and treacherous of all the Great Lakes.
Just like her first book in the series, "Track of the Cat," Barr draws the reader quickly and completely into the medium--in this case, the cold, eerie and wicked Lake Superior. In no time, I was suited up with Anna, ready to make a life-threatening dive down to a well-known shipwreck that houses five ghostly bodies--and one very new one.
Who killed fellow ranger Denny Castle, himself a skilled and "superior" diver? How did his body, dressed in macabre costume, become lodged in the engine room of the wreck? Anna and her fellow Rangers, an eclectic and motley crew if there ever was one, set out in their various ways to solve the mystery. They are aided, whether they like it or not, by a brash young FBI operative who is certain that the murder is drug-related.
The identity of the murderer and the motive behind the murder take a back seat to the truly unique and wonderful descriptions of the place, the people, and especially Anna, who is one tough cookie. Almost.
A great, quick, summer read. I recommend "A Superior Death" to anybody who enjoys a well-written, if not a psychologically challenging, mystery. Anna Pigeon, in my mind, is one of the great characters, and well worth this reader's time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cold, dark danger in the Upper Peninsula March 1 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ranger Anna Pidgeon has left the dry heat of west Texas, and gone diving in the frigid waters of Lake Superior, as she is now assigned to Isle Royale National Park. An experienced diver turns up dead, 260 ft below the surface in a sunken relic of all places. Furthermore, he's dressed in a comical 19th century boating captain's uniform. Anna has a number of strange characters to deal with in this tale, including a whimsical young couple who think another park ranger is a cannibal.
Although the story is exciting and fresh, I found the transition from scene to scene a bit confusing. Furthermore, there were too many characters and boat names to keep track of. Had Ms Barr made the number of characters a bit more manageable for the reader, this would easily be a 5 star book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best of Barr's ever Dec 19 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Probably because I live in the Great Lakes area, and because
I travelled over twenty years ago around Lake Superior (called "Great Waters" by the Ojibway people it is the largest and deepest freshwater lake in the world, an enormous reserve of unsalted water which also happens to be underfished for lack of commercial fisheries)this novel really got to me and rings so true and so close to reality that it was a pleasure to read. I have read almost all of Barr's novels and I must say this one left a great memory on my mind.
Jean-Charles Cachon
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but the Anna Pigeon is an Idiot July 11 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I like Nevada Barr's detective stories, partly because they combine a location in natural settings, an environmental ethic, and an old-fashioned detective novel. However, the author's efforts to make the story more exciting cause the main character, supposedly a trained law enforcement ranger, to do incredibly stupid things that would kill her in the real world. If you can get by the times Anna Pigeon blows every law enforcement commandment as well as common sense, the novel's fun to read.
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