Murder With Southern Hospitality:
An Exhibition of Mississippi Mysteries

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Female Detectives

Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr clearly attributes a portion of her success to the earlier efforts of women authors and their female detectives. In an online interview for Doubleday’s website “The Mystery Guild,” she said, “I think that Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky laid the groundwork and started a golden age for women sleuths and by sheer dumb luck I walked into the middle of it.” Barr’s character, Anna Pigeon, builds closely on the traditions of those who have gone before with a new emphasis on landscape and environment. Pigeon, a National Park Ranger, favors straight talk and action tempered with thoughtful decision making. Barr’s plots revolve around Anna’s work in various national parks and the powerful combinations of the beauty and wildness of their landscapes superimposed with human frailty, emotion, and murder. Her first mystery, the 1993 novel Track of the Cat, received the coveted Agatha Award sponsored by Malice Domestic, Ltd. and the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention’s Anthony Award for best first mystery novel. Since that time her works have won numerous other awards and captured a loyal following of readers. Although not a native Mississippian, Barr has lived and worked within the state since her transfer as a Park Ranger to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Barr uses this location as a setting for two of her most recent works (Deep South and Hunting Season) marking the first time the author has set two mysteries in the same place. She reiterates that this does not mean Anna is settling down.

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