Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon Series #7)

Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon Series #7)

by Nevada Barr

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Anna Pigeon is in Manhattan to look after her hospitalized sister, and explores the Statue of Liberty in her spare time. But when a teenage girl falls to her death from Liberty's ledge, Anna wonders if the suicide was actually a homicide-and begins an investigation that puts her in the line of fire.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425237359
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/05/2010
Series: Anna Pigeon Series , #7
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 129,025
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Formerly an actress and a park ranger, Nevada Barr is now an award-winning and New York Times–bestselling novelist and creator of the Anna Pigeon mysteries, and numerous other books and short stories. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and various pets.


Clinton, Mississippi

Date of Birth:

March 1, 1952

Place of Birth:

Yerington, Nevada


B.A., Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, 1974; M.A., University of California at Irvine, 1977

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Of course Molly would live; anything else was unthinkable. But Anna was thinking it.

Concerned for her mental health — or their own — the nurses at Columbia-Presbyterian had banded together and banished Anna from the hospital for twelve hours. Once pried free of the rain-streaked monolith housing umpteen floors of misery, Anna fled the far reaches of the Upper West Side, spiraling down into the subway with the rainwater. Huddled on the Number 1 train, she rattled through the entrails of Manhattan to the end of the line: South Ferry. The subways weren't those she'd known as a young woman — a wife — living in New York City with Zach. These were clean, silver. They smelled of metal and electricity, like bumper cars at the carnival. Graffiti artists, frusfrated by the glossy unpaintable surfaces, made futile attempts to etch gang symbols and lewd declarations of adolescent angst in the plastic of the windows. Vandals lacked patience and dedication.

At South Ferry, Anna sprinted up the stairs and burst from the station like a deadline — crazed commuter and across the three lanes of traffic that separated the subway from the pier. The National Park Service staff boat, the Liberty IV, was waiting at the Coast Guard dock, floating on the tip of Manhattan Island. Anna got aboard before they cast off. Kevin, the boat captain, winked. "I wouldn't have left you." She knew that, but she'd needed to run, to see the planks of the pier passing beneath her feet, to feel she'd outpaced the demons, beaten them to the boat. Ghosts can't cross open water.

On shipboard, she kept running. Avoiding kindlyquestions from Kevin, she left the warmth of the cabin and went to the stern. Under the dispirited flapping of the American flag, she watched the skyline, dominated by the twin towers of the World Trade Center, recede, carried away on the wake of the Liberty IV. Patsy Silva, the woman on Liberty Island with whom Anna was staying, referred to this pose, this view, as her "Barbra Streisand moment." It was the East Coast equivalent of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat into the air in downtown Minneapolis.

Crossing the harbor, Anna tried to fix her mind on the movie that had burned that image into the collective unconscious of a generation of theatergoers, but could not remember even the title.

The NPS boat stopped first at Ellis Island. From there it would continue its endless triangle, ferrying staff to Liberty Island, then the third leg of the run, back to MIO, the dock shared with the Marine Inspection Office of the U.S. Coast Guard where Anna had boarded. Farther out in the harbor, the Circle Line ferried its tourist cargo in roughly the same path but docking at different points on the islands. Anna was bunking in Patsy Silva's spare room in a cozy little cottage on Liberty Island in the shadow of the great lady herself. The view from Anna's bedroom — could it be duplicated — would jack the price of a condo into the high six figures. As it was park housing, Patsy and her roommate paid the staggering sum of one hundred and forty dollars a month; recompense for living in an area a GS-7 on NPS wages couldn't possibly afford.

Loath to go "home!' immediately, to strand herself amid the all too human accoutrements of coffee cups and telephones, Anna thanked Kevin, disembarked at Ellis, the Liberty IV's first stop, and slunk away, keeping to deserted brick alleys.

For ease of reference, Ellis was divided into three "islands," though all three of its building complexes shared the same bit of earth and were joined together by a long windowed walkway. Island I was the facility the tourists saw. Spectacularly refurbished in 1986, it housed the museum the Registry Hall, the baggage room and the service arm through which twelve million of the immigrants who poured into America from 1892 to 1954 had passed. Vaulted ceilings, as airy as those of a cathedral built to worship industry, intricate windows, modem baths, electricity, running water-all the state-of-the-art nineteenthcentury architecture — had been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. And returned, Anna had little doubt, to its original cacophony. At Ellis's peak, ten thousand souls a day were shepherded through the "golden door" to America. Now Ellis, in season, saw eight to ten thousand visitors from all over the world each day. 'Me raucous babble of languages must have seemed familiar to the old building.

Echoing off acres of tile in cavernous rooms, the din gave Anna a headache. She'd arrived in New York two days before. After a day of staring blindly at exhibits, she'd been driven to Islands II and III. In these crumbling urban ruins she'd found solace.

Isolated from the public by an inlet where Circle Line ferries disgorged two-legged freight, Islands II and III had been the hospital wards and staff living quarters when Ellis was an immigration station. One of the first American hospitals built on the European spa principle that fight and air are actually good for people, its many rooms were graced with windows reaching nearly from floor to ceiling. The infectious disease units on Island III were interconnected by long, freestanding passages, walled in paned glass. Ellis had boasted a psychiatric hospital, two operating theaters, a morgue and an autopsy room. At the turn of the century, the hospitals on Ellis were showcases for modem medical practices. That, and the fact that at one time or another nearly every disease known to man was manifest in at least one hapless immigrant, lured students and doctors from all over. They came to Ellis to teach, learn and observe.

In the early fifties the hospitals had been abandoned. Unlike the registry building on Island 1, they'd never been restored. There had never been funds to so much as stabilize the structures. Thus Anna loved them found in them the peace the sprawl of New York City had destroyed even in the remote comers of her famed city parks.

Table of Contents

What People are Saying About This

Nevada Barr

From a e-nnouncement

With each new book featuring park ranger Anna Pigeon, Nevada Barr garners greater critical acclaim and attracts increasing numbers of new fans. Barr's growing popularity has much to do with her uniquely refreshing protagonist and the nature of her book's settings. Each novel takes place in a National Park, with each locale as diverse as the scenery that Anna encounters -- from the Guadalupe Mountains National Park to Carlsbad Caverns. In Barr's latest, LIBERTY FALLING, Anna ships off to three new strange and exotic islands: Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and Manhattan Island. In an exclusive essay for, Nevada Barr informs readers as to why she decided to bring Anna to New York for her latest mystery LIBERTY FALLING.

Spreading the News by Nevada Barr

Whenever I am asked to write about writing I have this almost irresistible temptation to wax esoteric and erudite just to sound more author-like. Just for the heck of it I shall tell the truth about how I decided to write LIBERTY FALLING, an exercise to see if I can still tap into reality when called upon to do so.

I was casting about for a new Anna Pigeon story when a woman I'd worked with in Mesa Verde emailed me. She'd been transferred to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island National Monuments. "This place is awesome," she said. (Her choice of 'awesome' must be forgiven, she has two children and, to survive, has had to learn the language.)

I doubted that, but it was as good an excuse as any to go to New York, where I had lived for seven years, and to visit my friend. She was right. It was awesome. The back side of Ellis, the undeveloped portion of the monument, is the most intricate, sizable, fascinating haunted house imaginable. History leaks from the brick in a palpable way. It was a new wilderness for Anna and me to wander in and find new adventures. The juxtaposition of this deserted microcosm and the crowded avenues of Manhattan took over my brain and the book unfolded. I sincerely hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.

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Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon Series #7) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Squeex on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I like Anna Pigeon better in the wilds of her other assignments. I also like when she's actually working in the wilds of her other assignments. Anna, in this one, is in New York to look after her sister who is in the ICU in an uptown hospital. When she's not visiting her sister, she's wandering around Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. There be murder, of course, but it felt a little forced and the story meandered a tad. I had a hard time keeping track of the story and the players at times. Barbara Rosenblat's voice kept me interested and brought me back to the tale each time I meandered off the track. I loved the backstory on some of the employees and the eventual solving of the mystery was a good twist. I am glad this wasn't my first Anna Pigeon mystery, I might not have tried another. This is my 6th or 7th and I know the stories can be better, so will get fact another arrived in the mailbox today from RecordedBooks. Yay! Four New York City where's the wildlife beans.....
maiadeb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite of all the Anna Pigeon books. Informative as well as an exciting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you ever worked at Liberty or Ellis you will enjoy this thriller.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nothing started happening until a long way into the story. Too much background info made for a boring read. Normally, I like Anna Pigeon but she is starting to grate on my nerves a bit with her intrusiveness. Can the author not come up with a plot that does't make her seem like a busybody or a voyeur. Maybe let the plot have an actual personal connection so she has a reason to stick her nose in the situation. In this book, she just seemed annoying because she won't recognize boundaries or let others do their rightful jobs. Stephanie Clanahan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best of the Anna Pigeon series to date. Nevada Barr just keeps getting better. Her characters are quite well-developed in this book. Anna is a flawed snd believable protagonist.
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Sharpjake More than 1 year ago
Only the last chapter had much interest.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A suspense thriller about murder in the Big Apple. A forest ranger finds herself back in New York to be with her dying sister. She had sworn never to go to this big city, but she finds herself in the centre of a series of murders right under Lady Liberty's nose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I was reading Barr's vivid descriptions of Ellis and Liberty Islands, I felt as if I was walking beside Anna Pigeon as she explored the hallowed halls. I was able to visualize the ivy-covered walls and the disintegrating stairways. The characters were interesting and I was able to connect with them, which is something that I have not been able to do in Barr's previous novels. I enjoyed the romance between Frederick and Molly. I hope the relationship lasts and the readers get to see more of them. I don't feel that Anna's involvement with her sister's doctor was needed. It didn't really add anything to the story. I was unable to fit the clues together so I was surprised by the solution. The story kept me riveted up until the very end. I have read several of Nevada Barr's previous installments in the Anna Pigeon series, but none compare with LIBERTY FALLING. It gets my vote for the best in the series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As always I could 'see' Ellis Island through Barr's evocative descriptions, but I almost put the book down after reading cliche after cliche. This book would have received 5 stars if it had had less flesh and more prominent bones. Still a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Opposite of the Warrior Den and across the clearing a smaller sagebrush can be seen. This particular bush has more of a green hue to its gray leaves. Once past the rough branches, which surround most of the interior except a small opening at the front, it is obvious this place is perfect for young cats. When nests cover the floor of the den there will still be enough room for the occasional rough housing or storing treasures from kithood such as moss balls. The dense canopy prevents drafts or leaks while the stone floor in lined with various lichen. Here the cats training to become warriors can catch up on their sleep after the exhaustion of training. These apprentices have long awaited this den and, should they work hard, they will soon move on to even more honorable positions as warriors. ~ Apprentice Den, Sapphirestar <br> <br>