Chamberlin (The Valkyries Book 1: Choosers of the Slain, 2014, etc.) departs from her usual historical fiction to offer a twin tale of murder and the Mormon faith set at a Utah ski resort.
Helen Snow comes from a conservative family deeply involved in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Helen is visiting with her bishop to discuss her taking over the role of Relief Society president for her parish when she receives a phone call from her niece, Brittany. Brittany, who is like a daughter to Helen, has stumbled upon a grisly corpse, the wealthy, handsome bachelor David Jaramillo, while cleaning a condo in Park City, Utah. Helen rushes to Brittany’s aid and finds the police already cleaning up the scene. But while the authorities are ready to report the incident as an accidental death, Helen, and only Helen, notices something suspicious. She proceeds to explore a knot of relationships; Jaramillo, whose family owns the ski resort where the murder occurred, lies at the center. Helen ably navigates the convoluted plot threads, some of which stretch believability; the most intriguing is Helen’s tenuous relationship with her faith. While her sister, Brittany’s mother, is a paragon of religious devotion, Helen harbors certain doubts. These arose from the church’s callous response to Helen’s daughter Wizzy, who died young due to complications from Down syndrome. Wizzy serves as Helen’s moral and crime-solving compass. She hears her deceased daughter humming certain songs at crucial moments throughout the book. While this device is tryingly sentimental at times, it’s ultimately heartwarming and leads Helen to a satisfying affirmation of faith and self.
A thrilling religious murder mystery that affirms conservative LDS values.