Welcome to winter in Vermont, where everything’s cold, especially the corpses. The first dead body has a blue cashmere scarf depressing its larynx while the rest of its body slumps in its ski-lift seat. The scarf belongs, alas, to Carrie Carlin, who barely knew the late Charlie Anders, recently demoted second-in-command to brilliant but incorrigibly lecherous biofeedback nabob Hubert Freundlich. They’d all been registered for a pain-management seminar at charming, isolated Snowridge. But murder makes the place seem more isolated and less charming. Then another assistant dies; someone takes potshots at Carrie, though perhaps meant for her assigned roommate Nadine; and another conference attendee has his head bashed in and lapses into a coma. Who’s to blame? Freundlich’s valkyrie wife Gerta? His devoted gofer, uncharismatic Paul Scarborough? His chronic debunker, Dr. Flo Zimmer? Maybe even penurious conference organizer Dr. Garson Geissing? Carrie, despite her ex-husband’s phoned-in sarcasm and the misgivings of her current love, a long-suffering homicide cop, snoops and pries and acts as bait to trap the guilty.
This fifth of Carrie’s adventures (Golden Eggs and Other Deadly Things, not reviewed, etc.) is standard-issue amateur-sleuth/whodunit fare, with slatherings of humor, romance, date-rape drugs, frostbite, and a heroine who, of course, doesn’t know how to mind her own business.