With the lumber business almost stopped, Alpine needs some new business to get the citizens employed and revitalize the town.
But that doesn't include business from California. Blake Fannucci and Stan Levine have arrived in Alpine to put together a 5 million dollar luxury spa at Alpine's mineral springs.
It's not much of a mineral spring and it's located on the side of a mountain, but they have already purchased the land from county commissioner, Leonard Hollenberg and it looks like things are going ahead as planned.
Until Stan Levine, winds up dead on the property.
With dozens of suspects, Emma Lord, owner and editor of the local paper, The Alpine Advocate decides Sheriff Milo Dodge needs her help in solving it.
Who wanted him dead? Scott & Beverly Melville, recent arrivals from California. Scott is a architect who won the bid to build the spa and there are rumors about some house he built in California falling down.
Skye Piersall a radical enviornmentalist who is trying to get the project shut down, but did she have a more personal relationship with Stan?
One of the townspeople who are violently opposed to the spa, including Rip Ridley the high school coach who used his speech at the awards banquet to blast Californians coming to town and ruining it. All faithfully recorded and printed by Emma's "star" reporter Carla Steinmetz.
Emma's worried that Milo is over his head and that he isn't looking in the right places. He's reluctant to question Skye Piersall after he discovers that she's a friend and is staying with his on again / off again girlfriend Honoria Whitman.
But Emma manages to get him on track to solve what almost turns out to be a perfect crime.
Milo manages to get another kiss with Emma, unfortunately once again it's right in the middle of him searching for clues. Milo has no sense of the right moment.
Milo's girlfriend, Honoria is trying her best to get him "cultured". I'd love to see Milo at these art gatherings that she's always taking him to.
Emma's newspaper employee's are getting more involved and more interesting in each book. Carla is the worst reporter in the world, if someone says it, she prints it, no off the record stuff for her. And she can't spell anything.
Ginny Burmeister, the office manager is trying to convince Emma to try and convince the city council that a Summer Solstice festival would be more popular than the traditional Lumberama.
Emma is convinced to add personal columns to the paper. First person to find a date - Vida Runkel, 60ish House & Home editor, who is Emma's loyal sidekick on her murder investigations.
Leo Walsh, her new ad manager has sobered up, more or less and has turned out to be a very nice person, a little crude, but he's a newspaper man. He certainly is 100% improvement over Ed Bronsky.
Ed, former ad manager and recent millionaire from an inheritance is still trying to find his place in the world. Since he spent his entire time as ad manager trying to talk people out of buying ad's or not using any kind of color or picture if he didn't have it in his clip art file, he now wants to put some money into the spa, after Stan's death. Of course, before Stan's death he was against having the spa.
Adam, Emma's college aged son is still at the university in Arizona. I think this is a record for him. Now he's thinking of some type of Social work.
No lowlights in the book, except for a subject I promised not to write about again. (See previous reviews).
This book was so enjoyable that it made me start the next book right away and I'm going to review Alpine Hero next.