Flashback by Nevada Barr

 

MysteryFlashback by Nevada Barr

FlashbackNevada Barr; Berkley publishing group 2004WorldCatWho knew that the Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles off Key West, would be a place of escape for Anna Pigeon? But when Paul Davidson proposes, she quickly accepts a temporary assignment at the southernmost spot in the United States. She is at Fort Jefferson, an old fort that was built on an island that couldn’t hold it. The fort wasn’t used for too long, but was a prison during and after the Civil War.

Anna is covering for a ranger who is hospitalized after breaking down when his girlfriend ran off without a word. It’s a step up, even if only temporarily. Here is a good place for her to dive, to enjoy the ocean, to hide away, and to think about what she wants for her future – if she can make herself face the decision. But something is wrong at the Dry Tortugas.

The gung-ho, John Wayne type ranger disappears one night. His wife realizes something is wrong and contacts Anna. They start looking in the ocean where he had last reported from. More rangers and staff join the search and they each portion off and search an area. Finally they discover a boat that had exploded. But it isn’t the missing ranger’s boat. This was a jet boat, built for speed, and not one that belongs the Park Service. So the ranger is still missing.

He is found, barely alive, but alive. After he is shipped off to the hospital, Anna is the only Park Ranger left in the park. But she is seeing things, including the ghost of her great-great-great aunt who had lived at Fort Jefferson after the Civil War. Aunt Raffia had been married to the commanding officer of the fort at the end of the war. Two famous criminals are being sent there – two of the convicted conspirators of Lincoln’s murder. Anna has been reading Aunt Raffia’s letters to her sister, Anna’s ancestor. Now Raffia seems to be appearing in a ghostly form. Plus, Anna barely escapes death twice – too coincidental to be accidental.

Flashback combines two mysteries – the current one that could easily have come out of the newspaper headlines, and one a century and a half old that did come out of the headlines. The obvious solution of the mystery is wrong and the novel is well crafted. The telling of the post-Civil War tale is a heart breaker.

More books by Nevada Barr
Anna Pigeon series
at Stop! You’re Killing Me!
Link to Amazon.comLink to BetterWorld Books

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