Blind Descent by Nevada Barr

 

MysteryBlind Descent: Blind DescentNevada Barr; Avon 1999WorldCatA casual work friend of Anna Pigeon’s was caving when she was in an accident, hit by a falling rock. Anna was at the Carlsbad Cavern National Park when it happened. Freda is badly injured with a broken leg and a head injury. She wants Anna with her down in the Lechuguilla Cavern, which is beyond the Carlsbad Caverns underground. Anna swallows her claustrophobia and agrees to go.

Lechuguilla has only been discovered in the last thirty years or so. Only a very small bit of the caverns have been explored or mapped. To reach Freda Anna has to squeeze through places that only have a few inches clearance around her body. She wills herself to not give in to the panic her claustrophobia tries to raise. She follows the veteran cavers through the Wormhole, the Pigtail, and other scary sounding dangerous formations to reach the camp where Freda is laying injured.

Once there, Anna’s only job is to stay with Freda. Freda wakes up once long enough to tell Anna that someone pushed a rock on her on purpose. She was not injured in an accident. Now Anna has to watch the small group of cavers that are still in the cavern with them. One of them may be more than appears. Who in this group would want to hurt Freda? Why?

Before the group is out of the caverns, one of the group dies in another “accidental” rock fall. Anna believes the rocks may have had some help. When another caver is shot on the topside, Anna is certain the incidents are related.Can she discover who is the murderer before her curiosity makes her the next victim?

I like the National Park mystery series and Anna Pigeon. This novel is the best in the series that I have read. Lechuguilla comes to life in this book. The description of the amazing, unspoiled underground makes it sound like Nevada Barr has been down there herself. I could see the rock formations, the large halls, the narrow, twisting passages. I could feel Anna fighting off her claustrophobia.

The mystery is a good puzzle too. The clues are there. But it isn’t easy to put them together until Anna discovers the reason near the end of the book. There is also another mystery to solve, one unrelated to the murders of two cavers. Anna is finally able to untangle the threads of the two and find a solution. Now the question is whether she will live long enough to tell her discovery to the proper authorities.

Anna Pigeon series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!
More books by Nevada Barr

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