Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Alpine Vengeance-Mary Daheim

The Alpine Vengeance
Mary Daheim
Ballantine, Mar 29 2011, $25.00
ISBN: 9780345502575

Ten years ago, Larry Petersen was convicted for the murder of his sister Laura in a bank dispute (see The Alpine Fury). However, someone insists Larry is innocent and has sent anonymous letters claiming someone else provided a deathbed confession to Alpine, Washington Sheriff Milo Dodge and Alpine Advocate editor Emma Lord. Emma asks her House & Home editor, Vida Runkel if the confessor’s name means anything to her, but the Cascade Mountain town gossip queen says no.

Although Larry dies in prison from congestive heart failure just after insisting to his son he did not kill his sister, the anonymous author continues to send letters demanding justice be served. As Emma and Milo discuss the letters, poachers are raiding maples in the forests and someone kills artist Carl Laurentis just after he delivered a work to an art gallery.

This is an exhilarating mystery that has Milo and Emma hopping between The Alpine Fury (published in 1995) cold case and a new homicide during Thanksgiving in the Cascade foothills. The story line is action-packed, but the personal stuff will slow down new readers unfamiliar with the light switch relationship between the sheriff and the editor. However, long term fans will relish the whodunit ties between entries twenty two and six, and the personal references to the pasts of the lead characters.

Harriet Klausner

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