Contribution

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Nevada Barr provides a unique perspective within the canon of mystery and detective fiction written by women. By making her detective park ranger Anna Pigeon, Barr can traverse diverse terrain rather successfully. As a woman in a mostly male world, Anna can explore and indict the National Park Service’s often patriarchal rules and policies. In addition, because of the nature of National Park Service appointments, Anna can describe and delight in natural habitats across the United States without this movement from place to place becoming arbitrary or forced. Thus, Barr’s novels offer readers impressions of some of the most interesting natural habitats in the United States. Though Anna’s approach to crime seems a bit amateurish because the National Park Service does not expect its employees to have to deal with crimes, her organized and analytic nature makes her a natural investigator. Barr’s detective novels not only contain crime and detection but also comment on ecological concerns in a variety of picturesque natural habitats and inequality in the workplace, even as her works maintain a humanistic interest in the narrator and her concerns.