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Amber's Thoughts

Reviews and updates from Amber Foxx, author of the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series



One of Barr's Best

Nevada Barr doesn’t need my review, but I’m writing it anyway. I discovered the Anna Pigeon series somewhere in the middle when I grabbed an audiobook for a long trip a couple of years ago, and have been hooked on it ever since. Depending on what my library has on hand for audiobooks when I make my cross-country migrations, I’ll get the latest in the series in spite of the fact that I haven’t quite finished going back to buy and read all the earlier ones or filled in a couple of gaps between later ones. I’ll get there, and the zig-zagging won’t be a problem. The author is so skilled at writing a series that she knows how to give precisely the minimally necessary backstory, no more, no less. The reader coming in at mid-series never feels lost—or swamped—and Barr writes such compelling mysteries that when I go backward and get caught up, knowing what will happen in certain aspects of Anna’s  personal life in future books doesn’t affect my full engagement.


This early (third in the series) book features some vivid characters, ranging from repellant to tragic to likeable-but-annoying to irresistible . Six-year-old Bella and her aunt Hattie are stars, and they bring out a facet of Anna that shines, too. Frederick the Fed grew on me. The setting  itself, as always in Barr’s books, is a character. The Ancestral Puebloan ruins of Mesa Verde (the book is old, so it refers  to Anasazi ruins) are beautiful and haunting during the off-hours when Anna sees them without swarms of tourists.


The plot is complex, and has enough red herrings and possible suspects that even though I partially figured what was done, I had no idea how or why, or who done it. I’ve never read a Nevada Barr book I didn't like and this is one of her best.