- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Avon (Feb. 10 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380728273
- ISBN-13: 978-0380728275
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 11 x 2.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 136 g
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,370,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Liberty Falling Mass Market Paperback – Feb 10 2000
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
The death of a young teenage girl from the lower platform of the Statue of Liberty, and then the death of a park police officer from the same platform catches Anna’s attention. Something strange is going on and she is determined to figure it out.
content warning: white supremacists, alcoholism
This is probably my least favorite Nevada Barr book. I'll admit that I had a clue to the identity of the killer and accomplices about half way into the book. I was right. I think the most disappointing thing about this book is the urban setting. Barr can make any national park setting come alive, but the 'big city' of New York seemed stereotypical and uninteresting to the plot.
Anna's beloved sister Molly has fallen dangerously ill, and Anna has rushed to her side. Long and boring stints in the ICU (for both Anna and the reader) are interspersed with acute anxiety attacks, and a pressing need for space. Liberty Island, which is actually one of three islands, is--surprise--a national park, and Anna bunks with a ranger friend rather than stay at Molly's tony apartment in Manhattan. Of course, Anna being Anna, she stumbles onto some nefarious doings, not only in Lady Liberty herself, but in the decayed buildings of Ellis Island. Her snooping is not taken well by the resident staff--to the point where her life may be in danger.
I don't know why I found the detailed descriptions of the inner workings of the Statue of Liberty, and the endless visits to the decaying buildings of Ellis Island, so boring. Linda Fairstein described much the same thing in one of her books, and it slowed her plot considerably, in my opinion. Perhaps it was this sense of deja vu that annoyed me so much in "Liberty Falling."
At any rate, I found the going very slow, to the point where I kept forgetting which character was which.
Added to the slow pace of the mystery is the intensely annoying courtship of Anna's sister by geeky G-man Frederick Stanton, who has become increasingly hard to take in each successive book. Why the fabulous Molly would respond to Stanton, even in her half-dead state, is beyond me. Anna has some problems with it as well, but for different reasons, as loyal readers of this series know.
A half-baked "romance" between Anna and Molly's doctor adds nothing to the plot for most of the book, except for the chance to "view" Anna in a sexy dress and high heels (a first). The mystery does come, at last, to a satisfying conclusion, but not soon enough. For devotees of the Anna Pigeon series, this book provides a necessary link in the ongoing story of Anna's life. For casual readers, this is one to skip. It falls far short of the previous six books in the series.
Nevertheless, plotting, pace and characters are very good, overall combining to produce a good novel. After greedily consuming one home run after another by Barr, it's a letdown to read what, by comparison, is "just" a double.
I was surprised when Barr takes a side-slap at those who are chronically ill by having Anna Pigeon's psychiatrist sister Molly parrot English professor Elaine Showalter's claim that chronic illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Gulf War Illness are simply cultural phenomena, and by setting up the chronically ill as self-interested and uninformed critics. Having myself struggled for 6 years with chronic illness, it came across as insensitive, to say the least.