Track of the Cat, written in 1993, was the debut novel in the Anna Pigeon series. I've read and enjoyed several books in the series by Nevada Barr so I decided to back track and read the first. Those who like strong women protagonists, wonderful descriptions of setting and a good mystery will enjoy the law enforcement ranger's first adventure.
Anna Pigeon leaves New York City after her husband dies and moves to Texas. She is now working as a law enforcement ranger at Guadaloupe Mountains National Park. Anna is hiking and discovers the remains of a fellow ranger, Sheila Drury. It appears she was killed by a mountain lion and an autopsy confirms it but Anna is not convinced. She believes the claw marks and scratches were faked. Although her superiors close the case, Anna conducts her own investigation. Sheila's relationship with another woman and incriminating photos lead Anna to suspect Sheila's lover. But Sheila's work to promote public use of the park was opposed by ranchers, hunters and other park employees and suddenly Anna has more suspects than she can handle. She's a tough cookie but she finds herself in mortal danger when she
The Anna Pigeon series takes readers to various locations and provides a different setting for each whodunit. Anna is a unique and three-dimensional character with plenty of flaws. She is not always sympathetic but she is realistic and believable. The others are not as well fleshed out but the heroine and the extraordinary landscape over shadow the flat secondary cast. The plot is well crafted with plenty of twists and turns. I didn't find enough clues to help Anna solve the case but that might be a good thing because it kept me reading and I was more than satisfied with the ending. The others in the series only get better.
Publisher: Berkley (June 3, 2003)
Paperback: 272 Pages