Saturday, January 22, 2011

Murder on Mt. McKinley-Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins

Murder on Mt. McKinley
Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins
Irion Books, Dec 8 2010, $19.95
ISBN: 9780984161836

At the base of Mt. McKinley, the two rival oil company CEOs meet to discuss a merger on the Alaskan pipeline project. Neither Boggs Integrated Oil & Gas boss Ross Biggs or Consolidated Alaska Energy chief Julius Snowe hide their contempt of the other but as the latter’s Chief Financial officer Michael Piquet musingly tells experienced climber Scott Devlon that billions make for a powerful “bonding experience”. Although there are disputes between fractious groups besides the oil firms fighting each other, Scott looks forward to the climb until reporter turned author Quenton Stern informs him he is on the team; Quenton implied that Devlon left his best friend to die in Murder on Mt. Everest.

The climb begins led by Rollie Knox and Linda “Pete” Peterson. However what should be a relatively easy climb up North America’s highest peak turns deadly as accidental deaths occur. With so much anger over the pipeline project and having homicides accompany him on Everest and Elbrus (see Murder on Elbrus), Devlon believes someone is committing Murder on Mt. McKinley, but has no idea who.

The Summit Murder Mystery series premise of climbing each continent’s highest peak accompanied by murder and modern day issues is an entertaining saga as the authors are three for three. The story line is fast-paced with plenty of action from nature and humans. Once again fans will feel they are scaling the mountain with storms, bitter cold and climbing safety rules. However, the key to this great whodunit (and the previous entries) is the ability of Charles G. Irion and Ronald J. Watkins to incorporate local contemporary arguments into the climb and the subsequent whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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