As her myriad of fans can attest, USA Today bestselling author Mary Daheim creates wonderful mysteries peopled with marvelous characters as quirky as they are endearing. The Seattle Times says Daheim is "one of the brightest stars in our city's literary constellation"-and the popularity of her irresistible Pacific Northwest crime series has swept across the nation. Now the unfaltering Emma Lord is back in her highly anticipated hardcover debut.
Small-town newspaper editor/publisher Emma Lord sometimes feels stuck in Alpine, WA, especially during the drifts of winter. Challenges intrude,however, when she witnesses the shooting death of an actor onstage during the town's premiere of a derivative play authored by a community college instructor. It seems that all kinds of issues reach the town despite its remote locale, so Emma's sometime boyfriend Milo, the sheriff, must investigate both campus and town politics-while Emma second-guesses him. Solid prose, remarkable characters, and entertaining plot distinguish Daheim's 16th novel in her Emma Lord series and her hardcover debut. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from The Alpine Pursuit by Mary Daheim
My brother, Ben, and I had flown into Rome on a dark October morning. A heavy rain fell all the way into the city from Da Vinci Airport, making it almost impossible to see through the train windows. It was eight-thirty in the morning when we got a taxi at the stazione to head for the Hotel Bramante near the Vatican. The buildings in the oldest part of the Eternal City showed their age, with bright colors dulled, wavery glass, worn wrought iron, and cracked stucco exteriors. Rome seemed as gloomy as Alpine, where it had rained for a week before I left. If this trip was my brothers effort to raise my spirits after Tom's death, I was afraid Ben had made a big mistake.
An Alpine winter is even gloomier than most autumns, but Im used to it. Changes in the weather pattern during the past century have raised temperatures, however. No longer is the mountain town snowed in from October to April. The current fall had accumulated to over four feet, but it was the third week of February and that was ordinary at the three-thousand-foot level of the Cascades. Seventy years ago Alpine was completely isolated except by train when the locomotives could push through. We still had the trains, but we also had roads and streets, and we usually had access to the highway. Stories were still handed down about snow up to the housetops and how close the community of two hundred hardy souls became when there was virtually no contact with the outside world. Listening to the legends, it almost sounded like fun.
But the good old days weren't always so good. I was reminded of that fact when a group of Alpine residents decided to revive a theatrical tradition that had begun before World War One. Forced to rely on their own resources for entertainment, the diversions included lectures, musicales, sports competitions, and plays starring local amateurs. Judging from cast photos, the actors had a wonderful time. I'm sure the audience did, too. Maybe everybody was juiced on moonshine.
Very professional productions, declared my House & Home editor, Vida Runkel. That is, given the limited amount of talent.