A middle-aged honeymoon couple has to catch wedded bliss on the fly when murder and a car wreck upset their little town.
Emma Lord and Milo Dodge have been married all of two months. As the editor and publisher of a newspaper on a shoestring budget, she’s always looking for stories worth a few inches of copy. He’s the sheriff of Alpine, somewhere east of Washington's Cascade Mountains. Emma also enjoys the sometimes-questionable company of Vida Runkel, the "House & Home" editor, who knows everyone and everything in town. Vida’s all atwitter about her beloved great-grandson Dippy now that his mother, the town hooker Vida wrested him from, is out on bond. When a body is found near the fish hatchery, it's identified as someone who may be either a federal agent or a crook; a major car crash, missing teenagers and a detective who goes off the grid also conspire to keep Emma and Milo busy. An intruder who threatens Emma’s life provides yet another entanglement in a confusion of noisy neighbors, ex-spouses, stepchildren, children who are no more than voices on the phone and characters mentioned only in passing—all of them distractions from the overlapping plotlines. Despite these extraneous dramas and a rather muted resolution, however, Daheim injects enough wit and color to make her tale more entertaining than the standard small-town mystery.
Fans of Daheim’s multivolume chronicle (The Alpine Xanadu, 2013, etc.) may feel right at home among Alpine’s denizens, but it will be a struggle for newcomers to figure out who’s who.