There's so much talk about when it comes to the state of the environment — as well there should be. Global warming, endangered species, pollution, toxic dumps... are all terribly important topics. That’s probably why so many mystery authors have chosen this subject as a plot foundation. Here are a few of my favorite environmental mysteries.
by Jessica Speart
U.S. Fish and Wildlife agent Rachel Porter has been assigned to an area in Northern California where a biologist has disappeared. The biologist was searching for a beautiful rare blue butterfly that was believed to be extinct. Not only is the butterfly-seeking biologist missing, a young girl also can’t be located. A spunky protagonist and well-written stories make this series a real pleasure to read. Plus, I always learn something about this beautiful delicate world we all share.
by Nevada Barr
National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon is taking a delayed honeymoon with her sheriff husband. She had been on leave suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from her last case. The newlyweds are taking a rafting trip in Texas' Big Bend National Park. Mistakes are made on the trip and the rafting party ends up running for their lives because of flooding conditions. They are stranded on shore with little provisions. As if that is not enough, someone begins shooting at members of the stranded rafting party. Add Anna delivering a baby and a host of other problems and you have a riveting mystery. As in all the books in this series the author’s love of wilderness and her experience as a park ranger are evident in her evocative narratives of the natural world.
by Carl Hiaasen
Carl Hiaasen pens a well-written mystery series as well as a column for the Miami Herald. He also writes books for young people and Scat is a gem. Mrs. Starch hasn't returned from a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. Nick and Marta don’t believe for a minute that she was called away on a "family emergency" like the principal told them. They think the class delinquent Smoke has something to do with Mrs. Starch’s disappearance. Nick and Marta’s investigating leads them to find that there’s a lot going on in Black Vine Swamp and before it is all over they will have dealt with an eco-avenger, a stuffed rat name Chelsea and a wannabe Texas oilman. This book is a treat for all ages.
by Aaron Elkins
I have enjoyed all of the Gideon Oliver books, but this one is probably my favorite thus far. Forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver accompanies his Park Ranger wife Julie to an ecological conference on the Isle of Scilly, which is off of the coast of Cornwall, England. Julie has been invited to attend by an eccentric, Russian scientist millionaire Vasily Kozlov. While the invitees are stuck inside Kozlov’s castle attending the conference, Gideon is thrilled to be puttering around some of the Neolithic sites on the island. It’s not long before Gideon turns up a bone that is just too new to be there and points to murder.
by Anne Metikosh
Conservation Office Charlie Meikle’s home base is Northern Ontario, Canada. Charlie finds an old friend’s body in a lake, but something tells her this is not an accidental drowning. Another body is found and things just don’t add up. While investigating these deaths Charlie stumbles across a toxic waste dump that has the potential to destroy the town and surrounding areas. Mystery lovers will enjoy the vivid sense of place in this story.
by C. J. Box
Lamar Gardiner’s arrow-riddled corpse, as well as seven illegally shot elk, push Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett on a pursuit that not only endangers him but his foster daughter April. This is a fast-paced, tautly-written mystery. I don’t know anyone that writes about snow and the cold as well as the author — your teeth will chatter. All of the books in this series are superb.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Leah Smith
Leah lives near Washington D.C. and is an obsessive list maker. She loves lists so much that she creates topical bibliographies -- for fun. She also collects volvelles, nutcrackers, unusual names and map hankies. She talks about books and many other things on her blog, Fig Newtons and Scotch.
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