Emma Lord has owned and operated Washington State's Alpine-Advocate for over a decade. Nearing fifty, Emma has covered more stories, solved several homicides, and has scooped her peers more often than she would like to remember.
Currently, she has the inside track to a Seattle murder that leaves her quite uneasy since the suspect is her dimwitted cousin Ronnie, a person she has not seen in about three decades. Ronnie is accused of killing his live-in girl friend. When Emma, at the instigation or encouragement, depending on the perspective of House and Home editor Vida Runkel, visits Ronnie at jail, she concludes he is too laid back to kill anyone. Emma and Vida begin their own style of investigating especially because the police are looking at Ronnie only in spite of the suspect's airtight alibi. However, finding the guilty party proves difficult and dangerous as the culprit prefers Ronnie receive credit for the deed.
THE ALPINE MENACE is a very intricate mystery so that it is nearly impossible to determine the identity of the killer. The victim is not likable, as she was the poster girl for "trailer trash" with many people wishing her dead. Thus, the audience performs a real mental workout trying to identify the perpetrator. Mary Daheim is dependable when it comes to a well-written mystery, but this novel is one of her best tales.