The twentieth book in a mystery series might be repetitive or stale, but Mary Daheim's The Alpine Traitor is one of the strongest stories in her Alpine series. It's a complicated, twisted story that reaches back into Emma Lord's past.
Emma Lord thinks of herself as a middle-aged mother and newspaper publisher in the small town of Alpine, Washington. Over the course of her life in Alpine, her son, Adam, grew up and left for the priesthood; she found and lost Tom Cavanaugh, the man who was her former lover and Adam's father; and she put together a comfortable life with friends on her staff, such as Vida Runkel and Leo Walsh. As in many old detective novels, Emma's comfortable existence is disrupted when a beautiful blonde shows up in her office.
Emma doesn't suspect anything when the ditzy blonde disappears. It's only when a man walks in and says he's making an offer for Emma's newspaper, the Advocate, on behalf of the Cavanaugh family, Tom's children, that she's uneasy. And, when that same man turns up murdered in a local motel, Emma's life starts to spiral out of control. Appearances can be deceiving, as she learns when a second shooting occurs, and this one is too close to home.
Mary Daheim brings back all of Alpine's familiar characters. But, it's the story from Emma Lord's past that continues to haunt this series. The Alpine Traitor won't disappoint readers.
Mary Daheim's website is www.authormarydaheim.com
The Alpine Traitor by Mary Daheim. Ballentine Books, ©2008. ISBN 978-0-345-46818-5 (hardcover), 337p.