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Authors: Mary Daheim

The Alpine Legacy

BOOK: The Alpine Legacy
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Praise for Mary Daheim
and her Emma Lord mysteries

THE ALPINE ADVOCATE

“An intriguing mystery novel.”

—M. K. W
REN

THE ALPINE BETRAYAL

“Editor-publisher Emma Lord finds out that running a small-town newspaper is worse than nutty—it's downright dangerous. Readers will take great pleasure in Mary Daheim's new mystery.”

—C
AROLYN
G. H
ART

THE ALPINE CHRISTMAS

“If you like cozy mysteries, you need to try Daheim's Alpine series…. Recommended.”


The Snooper

THE ALPINE DECOY

“[A] fabulous series … Fine examples of the traditional, domestic mystery.”

—Mystery
Lovers Bookshop News

THE ALPINE FURY

“An excellent small-town background, a smoothly readable style, a sufficiently complex plot involving a local family bank, and some well-realized characters.”


Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

THE ALPINE GAMBLE

“Scintillating. If you haven't visited Alpine yet, it would be a good gamble to give this one a try.”


The Armchair Detective

THE ALPINE ICON

“Very funny.”


The Seattle Times

THE ALPINE JOURNEY

“Seattle super mystery writer Mary Daheim is back again in
The Alpine Journey
, a very compelling tenth entry in the wonderful Emma Lord series…. A dark and complicated plot is a great addition to this winning series.”


Mystery Scene

THE ALPINE KINDRED

“Witty one-liners and amusing characterizations.”


Publishers Weekly

By Mary Daheim
Published by The Random House Ballantine
Publishing Group:

THE ALPINE ADVOCATE
THE ALPINE BETRAYAL
THE ALPINE CHRISTMAS
THE ALPINE DECOY
THE ALPINE ESCAPE
THE ALPINE FURY
THE ALPINE GAMBLE
THE ALPINE HERO
THE ALPINE ICON
THE ALPINE JOURNEY
THE ALPINE KINDRED
THE ALPINE LEGACY
THE ALPINE MENACE
THE ALPINE NEMESIS
THE ALPINE OBITUARY

Books published by The Ballantine Publishing Group are available at quantity discounts on bulk purchases for premium, educational, fund-raising, and special sales use. For details, please call 1-800-733-3000.

W
HERE DID
E
MMA
Lord go wrong?

Middle-class, educated, entrepreneurial, Lord has all the qualifications for leaving her mark on Skykomish County. Instead, she's taken the easy, craven, and commercial way out by publishing the conservative, knee-jerk, reactionary
Alpine Advocate.

Emma Lord would like you to believe that her editorials (mealymouthed if well-mannered essays describes them better) have helped create progress and change in Alpine.

Not so. She has been a stumbling block, a lumplike obstacle, an entrenched self-serving member of the establishment who literally sleeps with the enemy. After nine years as
The Advocate's
editor-publisher, Lord has nothing to show for her tenure except (we suspect) a fat bank account.

Let's look at the facts:

Alpine, Washington, is a small logging community of four thousand inhabitants, with perhaps another twenty-five hundred in surrounding Skykomish County. Some might even refer to our craggy corner of the Pacific Northwest as backward, isolated, and out of touch with contemporary issues and ideas.

They're right.

Alpine's Northern European

specifically, Scandinavian

heritage encourages clinging to the past and resisting
the future. Founded as a logging community before World War I, the town was almost wiped out when the original mill was shut down in 1929. Fortunately, there were at least two risk-takers who saved Alpine by building a ski lodge and encouraging sports enthusiasts to take to our snow-covered slopes.

When logging was resumed during and after World War II, the town grew, even flourished. By the late Seventies, commuters from as far away as Everett moved into the area, creating a broader economic and social base. Then, when the ravagers and pillagers of the woods met their match in farsighted environmentalists, Alpine floundered once again. With only one small mill still in operation, the town began to slide back into history.

Luckily, there were a few visionaries to save Alpine again, this time with the construction of Skykomish Community College. The opening of the two-year school has not only brought much-needed life into the area, but ethnic diversity. A las, there are too many “old-timers” who resent these newcomers whose skin is a different color and whose names don't end in “son” or “sen.”

As Alpine undergoes yet another major shift in its socioeconomic configuration, nothing has really changed. Regressive thinkers still seem to be in the vanguard. Let's look at three nagging issues that have failed to be addressed despite urgent needs:

  1. Shutting down all logging operations in Skykomish County. We are at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Why are we still cutting trees? What little old-growth timber is left will surely fall in the next decade. Emma Lord exudes sympathy for the loggers, patting these timber rapists on the head, and mewling about how hard it is for them to change jobs because their so-called livelihood has been handed down from father to son
    ad nauseam.

  2. Hiring a new doctor to replace Peyton Flake. The county commissioners have delayed decision-making, mainly because they're a trio of senile incompetents. While medical science doesn't have all the answers, health care in this county has deteriorated. So, apparently, has Lord's brain, since she makes only an occasional bleat on the editorial page about “hiring a qualified physician.” Her lack of verve

    not to mention nerve

    is enough to make this reader sick

    except that if I were, I couldn't get an appointment for six weeks.

  3. Creating a shelter for battered and abused women. This project falls under the aegis of local church leaders, none of whom seems capable of doing anything but “praying for guidance on this matter,” a direct quote from the Lutherans' Donald Nielsen. The need for a shelter has been evident for years, even before my arrival in Alpine. Reluctance to provide funding or merely to determine a site indicates the status of women in this community. The town, the county, and its environs are under the collective thumbs of a male-dominated society. Historically, the men at the helm of Skykomish County have shown a complete disregard for females, as they continue operating in a nineteenth-century time warp. They are a disgrace, and should have been removed from power thirty years ago. What is even more disturbing is that the one woman who is in a position of influence refuses to act.

Emma Lord should put her tawdry little newspaper up for sale and get out of town. She is a blot on the community, and a pariah among her own sex.


C
RYSTAL
B
IRD
,
editor and publisher of
Crystal Clear,
an independent publication dedicated to progress and unity

I
HADN'T BEEN SO
angry since I was a freshman in high school and my brother Ben told a boy I really liked that I'd had a sex change. “Emma,” Ben said to Nick Battista some thirty-five years ago, “is really a
man.”
Nick ran like a scared turkey.

“Stop that!” Vida Runkel cried as I threw my coffee mug across the newsroom. “Violence doesn't become you.”

I glared at my House & Home editor. “Then what should I do? Haul Crystal Bird into court and sue her for libel?”

Vida picked up her mug of hot water and eyed me from under the brim of her charcoal-gray fedora. “From what I've read, Crystal hasn't actually libeled you. Yet.”

“She called me lumplike,” I said, glancing down at my reasonably trim figure. “When did she see me? Where did she get the idea I was a lump?”

“A figure of speech, I'm sure,” Vida said blithely. “Like sleeping with the enemy.”

I stopped storming around the newsroom to see if Vida was being sarcastic. But her broad face under the tousled gray curls seemed innocent. Still, I could never be sure with my House & Home editor. Her mind travels many roads at once, and at terrific speed.

Still angry, I waved the latest copy of
Crystal Clear
at
Vida. “It's only a matter of time before she goes too far. Every issue gets more scurrilous. Last month, she criticized me for driving a Jaguar, and never mind that it's fifteen years old and falling apart. Now she's invaded my private life. What next? And why?”

Vida set the mug down and folded her sturdy arms across her equally sturdy chest. “A good question. Are you certain you don't know her from somewhere? After marrying and moving away from Alpine, Crystal spent most of her adult life in Oregon. Perhaps you crossed paths while you were living in Portland.”

“If I did, I don't remember.” Stopping by my ad manager's empty desk, I tried to get a rein on my temper. “If she liked Oregon so much, why didn't she stay there?”

Vida peered at me over the rims of her new red-framed glasses. “You didn't stay. You moved here. Crystal, at least, is originally from Alpine.”

Even after almost nine years, the natives still considered me an outsider. Sighing, I sat down in Leo Walsh's vacant chair. “I'm tempted to contact a lawyer,” I said, ignoring Vida's remark. “Every issue of
Crystal Clear
is more brutal.”

“In the old days,” Vida said, turning to her battered upright typewriter, “there were several independent publications around here. Cass Pidduck put out a virulent socialist newsletter urging the extermination of Alpine's class system, which didn't exist when this was a company town. Arthur Trews became a religious fanatic in some bizarre sect that promoted the worship of squirrels. And of course there was Averill Fairbanks and his UFO postings, so very peculiar, especially his sketches of what he called Jumping Jupiter Jackrabbits. No ears at all. What kind of a rabbit is that? Sometimes Marius Vandeventer would get quite up in arms,” she added, referring to the previous owner of
The Alpine Advocate.

BOOK: The Alpine Legacy
14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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