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Endangered Species: 10/20/22
Endangered Species by Nevada Barr and Cindy Williams (Narrator) (1997) is the fifth book in the Anna Pigeon mystery series. I am trying to go through older audiobooks I have in my collection and I found this one. More on the audiobook aspect of it later in this post.
Set on Cumberland Island, Georgia, Anna is working the fire season. A drought has made the situation dire and it's vital that fires be located and contained as quickly as possible. The rangers have a plane to help spot potential problem areas but the plane goes down, starting a fire and sparking a murder investigation.
The mystery then settles on a couple questions: how did the plane crash and what was the motive for causing the crash? Figuring out the first bit involves understanding a thing or two about how planes fly. The second question involves understanding everyone's past and their connections to each other.
In a typical Anna Pigeon mystery the pacing of the novel follows a typical pattern. First the location is introduced: where it is, what it's known for, it's ecology, the specific challenges of being a ranger there, and finally how well Anna feels she's a fit for this particular assignment. Then the characters are introduced and tensions between them established until it becomes clear who the most likely murder victim will be. Then about a hundred pages in, Anna discovers the body and evidence of a crime against the place where she's working. Anna then has to juggle her regular ranger duties while trying to investigate the murder. She eventually whittles down the suspects to the most likely one and puts herself in a dangerous situation so that she's forced to fight against the murderer. She survives and manages to either incapacitate the murderer. The book then ends with a brief coda to check in on Anna during her recovery.
From the very first moments of listening to the audiobook I noticed something was off. First, there was no mention of chapter breaks. Second the narrator sounded like she was reading as fast as she possibly could. I even checked to see if I had set the playback speed to 1.5x or higher; I hadn't. I suspect the recording itself was sped up to save playback time. Turns out the version I bought (and the only version currently available) is an abridged version. An audiobook that should take about nine hours to listen to has been reduced to just under three hours.