Monday, August 27, 2007

IN COLD PURSUIT by Sarah Andrews (St. Martin's)

Nobody every said I can't take a hint. My friend Diane Esterly has told me several times that Sarah Andrews is one of her favorite authors. When this new book arrived in my mailbox, I asked Diane to tell you about it. She was happy to comply. I know you'll enjoy what she says.

Andrews has written another mystery, but with a new sleuth. Valena Walker is an acquaintance of Em Hansen. I happen to an Em Hansen fan, but I found Valena to be a worthy successor. The setting of this mystery is Antarctica. My dislike of frigid weather, notwithstanding, I found myself fascinated by her account of this severe and strange land. As usual, the author has admirably combined education and entertainment. There is no mistaking her intent to teach. Her passion for geology and teaching is evident, and her research for this book is thorough. She combines science, suspense and female sleuthing easily and has a style that is compelling, even when your natural curiosity does not include either the setting or the content. I was fascinated by the information she conveyed about glaciology and geology and their relevance to current issues such as global warming, politics, overpopulation, and our consumeristic lifestyle which uses fossil fuels at an alarming rate despite scientific evidence that it is depleting the earth’s resources. Most fascinating was the amount and kind of information that can be gathered from this frigid land and her glaciers. Her main character again reveals the author’s interest in women who are struggling with their non-conformist lives at the fringe, their struggles to come to terms with themselves, and their innate strength and intelligence which eventually overcome their inner doubts.

Sarah Andrews is a woman of integrity and her books show her to be passionate about her interests and field of knowledge, geology. All of her books have this mark of integrity, but this latest one is most compelling. She describes “the last continent” as painfully, astonishingly, joyously, and severely beautiful. Her descriptions ring true and this book, like the author, is authentic and powerful.
--Diane Esterly

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