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THE ALPINE LEGACY: An Emma Lord Mystery
By Mary Daheim

Ballantine, 1999 (308 pages) pbk.

Reviewed by Shirley H. Wetzel

Crystal Bird, owner and editor of the local rag Crystal Clear, is dissing just about everybody and everything in her new hometown of Alpine, Washington, but she is especially brutal to Emma Lord, editor of the Alpine Advocate. Calling Emma "lumplike" is one of her kinder slams; Emma is mad enough to sue for slander, but cooler heads convince her to try to talk to the woman first. When Crystal is found face-down in her hot tub soon after Emma's visit, and the supposed suicide turns out to be murder, Emma is one of many suspects.

Somebody among her friends and neighbors sets out to make her seem like the most likely killer, and Emma must try to solve the crime and clear her name. Adding to her complicated life, her old flame Tom Cavanaugh, father of her grown son Adam, shows up out of the blue, newly single and as handsome as ever.

Adam has decided to become a priest like his Uncle Max, and is becoming acquainted with his father for the first time in his life, a situation which Emma has decidedly mixed feelings about. Her on-again, off-again relationship with Sheriff Milo Dodge also causes more problems than it solves, when he appears not to be totally convinced of Emma's innocence.

This is a mostly likable yarn, although a few of the characters are definitely unlikable and over the top unbelievable.

Other titles in this series include: THE ALPINE MENACE (to be published in November, 2000), THE ALPINE ADVOCATE, THE ALPINE BETRAYAL, THE ALPINE CHRISTMAS, THE ALPINE DECOY, THE ALPINE ESCAPE, ALPINE FURY, THE ALPINE GAMBLE, THE ALPINE HERO, ALPINE ICON, THE ALPINE JOURNEY, and THE ALPINE KINDRED.

Mary Daheim is also the author of the popular Bed & Breakfast series featuring Judith McMonigle Flynn and her sleuthing partner, cousin Renie, including WED AND BURIED.


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