Alpha Alpine

Alpha Alpine

Ms. Daheim begins again at A with this alphabetic cozy mystery series.

Alpha Alpine is the 27th in the Emma Lord series. It’s Labor Day in Alpine, a small town in the Cascade Range of mountains in Washington state.  Emma is investigating a mysterious death of a new waitress at the Venison Inn and the shooting of the waitress’ brother. Why did the waitress wear a wig and use a false name when applying for her new position?  Do the other two similar murders nearby imply a serial killer is at large? Blackwell is up to his usual shenanigans.  This time he is trying to run for a City Manager position that hasn’t even been voter-approved yet and is investigating the Sheriff’s office.

I haven’t read Mary Daheim since 2001 when she was only up to letter N (Alpine Nemesis #14).  I’m not sure why I stopped. Alpha Alpine is #27 in the series after Alpine Zen.  The beginning of this book was pretty confusing for non-series readers (and me).  All the characters are not only introduced but their relationship to other characters explained extensively in the first half of the book.  I found this boring compared to solving a murder case and starting skimming at about 5% in.  The first murder (of a visitor to the town of course) doesn’t occur until 20% into the book.

Much change occurred in the 16 years since I last read the series. Emma is now married to Sheriff Milo. Vida is talking about retiring.  Alison is a new character who is helping Emma investigate rather than Vida this time.  I always loved the small town setting of this series and that continues to be the case with this entry.  The mystery wasn’t as good as I expected from this author.  The extensive character explanation was a sluggish way to begin.  I think Alpha Alpine deserves a solid 3 stars.  However, it is not as good as her previous books. For readers just beginning the series, I would recommend starting at the first entry in the series, Alpine Advocate, rather than here.

Thanks to the publisher, Alibi, and NetGalley for an advanced review copy.

December 12th, 2017 by
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