Liberty Falling (Anna Pigeon)
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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.
Her skin was good—no acne—and pale, as if she spent little time in the sun. Some of her teeth had been broken in the fall, but Anna could see the bottom row. They were crooked but white and without fillings. She wore a white T-shirt and green trousers. Army fatigues maybe; they were a couple sizes too large and frayed at the cuffs where they dragged on the ground. New, expensive sneakers—Reeboks. If the child was a runaway, she’d either bolted recently or done well by herself. Without opening
so. Cleaning crew rode back to Manhattan on the last boat of the day. If Patsy and Mandy didn’t arrive on it, Anna would have the house to herself till morning. Men in groups made her leery and she faded into the shrubbery as they clattered near. Three of them were dark-skinned, two African-Americans and one Puerto Rican or Mexican. The fourth was almost painfully white, big and oafish with a neck nearly as thick as his head, which was either shaved or naturally bald from the edge of his green
Nothing. Welfare ladies came and did for me. I didn’t go to the toilet but I dragged the phone in with me. Every time I’d fall asleep I’d dream the phone was ringing, but it never was. Then I began to dream she was hurt, sick, calling for her mama. Then I gave up sleeping. I’m still not good at it, but I don’t dream. Not of anything.” This was said without a hint of self-pity. She spoke as if she told a story that she didn’t believe about a woman she didn’t like. “At first Anna had expected
Suspicion sharpened her memory. Just before the stairs fell she had heard a loud, solid crack. At the time, she’d been thinking of other things—like how not to get skewered in the dark—and had written the sound off to wood breaking. Why, all of a sudden, would an oak beam give way? That crack could easily have been the sound of a sturdy boot smashing into the timber supporting the top of the stairs. If that was true, someone meant her harm. If someone meant her harm, maybe the incident in the
kind of lost touch again.” Anna tried the names Agnes Abigail and Pearl Tucker, but they didn’t ring any bells with Caroline. She assured Anna she’d call if she remembered anything more, and Anna hung up feeling more restless than before. She wished Frederick would come home. Arguing with him would be a distraction. Television crossed her mind. Molly owned one—she was hooked on Leno and Letterman—but Anna didn’t see it and wasn’t motivated to search bedroom and study cabinets to see where it had