Alpine Christmas: An Emma Lord Mystery

Mass Market Paperback | October 4, 1993

byMary Daheim

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An Emma Lord Mystery.
Christmas in the town of Alpine means fresh snow, carolers, even a sleigh. But then the discovery of a woman's leg in the lake, along with that of another young woman's nude, half-frozen body, deflates everyone's high spirits. But as Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, follows up on the story, the bits and pieces of the young women who keep turning up start adding up to a murder scheme so sinister it may well land Emma on her own obituary page . . .

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From Our Editors

The alphabetically ordered mystery series featuring the deceptively deadly town of Alpine reaches the letter J -- as in just great.

From the Publisher

An Emma Lord Mystery.Christmas in the town of Alpine means fresh snow, carolers, even a sleigh. But then the discovery of a woman's leg in the lake, along with that of another young woman's nude, half-frozen body, deflates everyone's high spirits. But as Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, follows up on the story, t...

From the Jacket

An Emma Lord Mystery.Christmas in the town of Alpine means fresh snow, carolers, even a sleigh. But then the discovery of a woman's leg in the lake, along with that of another young woman's nude, half-frozen body, deflates everyone's high spirits. But as Emma Lord, editor and publisher of The Alpine Advocate, follows up on the story, t...

Mary Richardson Daheim started spinning stories before she could spell. Daheim has been a journalist, an editor, a public relations consultant, and a freelance writer, but fiction was always her medium of choice. In 1982, she launched a career that is now distinguished by more than sixty novels. In 2000, she won the Literary Achievemen...

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7 × 4.5 × 0.5 inPublished:October 4, 1993Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345382706

ISBN - 13:9780345382702

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IN CONVERSATION . . . MARY DAHEIM AND EMMA LORD MARY: Welcome back to the Big City, Emma. You grew up here in Seattle, but you’ve lived in Alpine for almost ten years. I’ve lived in small towns twice in my life, and frankly, I had trouble adjusting. How do you manage?EMMA: It’s attitude, Mary. When I made the decision to buy The Alpine Advocate, I knew it would be a long-term investment of my life, maybe even a permanent one. That made it easier for me--I knew I was going to stick around. The other thing that helped was being the local newspaper’s editor and publisher. I automatically became part of everyone’s life. I had an identity. But don’t get me wrong--since I wasn’t born in Alpine, I’ll always be something of a stranger. And, yes, I definitely miss the cultural and the sports activities of a big city. Weekend high school football and the St. Mildred’s Christmas pageant just don’t do it for me. And while they got rid of Loggerama, I don’t think I can stand another year of Ed Bronsky as the Winter Solstice Parade’s grand marshal. Ed should never ever wear anything diaphanous.MARY: I don’t really want to think about that. Let’s talk career paths. Like you, I always thought I had printer’s ink in my veins and started out in newspapers. Then I discovered you had to walk a lot, so I went into P.R. What made you hang in there?EMMA: For one thing, Mary, I don’t have flat feet like you do. Maybe the real difference is that I do have printer’s blood in my veins. Keeping the public informed, having the power to wield some influence (though it be rather small) through my editorials, and meeting deadlines all keep me alive. There’s an enormous satisfaction to producing a paper every week. You can see what you’ve done. You can share it with the community. You feel as if your job has some meaning in a nutty world where personal achievement is hard to find.MARY: You also have a knack for sleuthing. How did you develop this, or is it a gift?EMMA: Journalism is all about sleuthing. It’s tracking down graft in the union pension fund, it’s figuring out the rationale of timberland swaps, and sometimes it’s as simple--and important--as making sure you’ve identified the right John Smith in an article about sexual perversion. I once made a horrendous mistake in The Oregonian. There were two Alan Barkers in the news. Alan L. Barker had won a prestigious poetry prize. Alan R. Barker had been arraigned for indecent exposure at Jantzen Beach. I got them mixed up, and there was all hell to pay. What made it even worse was that at the trial the Barker exhibitionist quoted Tennyson’s "Some civic manhood against the crowd." The jury was bewildered.MARY: Speaking of sleuthing, don’t you feel that the murder rate is rather high for a town the size of Alpine?EMMA: You mean since I arrived? I have to admit, sometimes I feel like a one-woman crime wave. But, in fact, the murder rate has risen in smaller communities over the past few years. People are increasingly transient, communication is so much faster, and while small town residents didn’t used to feel the same pressures as city dwellers, that’s changing quite rapidly. Also, historically, Alpine has been a lumber town. It’s a rough, dangerous way to make a living. Life and death in the woods goes back five or six generations. Violence is no stranger here.MARY: Let’s get personal, Emma. Do you ever see yourself married to Tom Cavanaugh? Or do you ever see yourself married, period?EMMA: That’s a toughie. I’ve thought and thought about it, and I can’t come up with a straight answer. I love Tom. I’ve tried not to, but you can’t simply tell love to go away. I realize that maybe it’s not a healthy attitude. There are practical considerations, too. I can’t quite envision Tom living in Alpine. On the other hand, I can’t imagine giving up The Advocate. Maybe what I’m really saying is that I’ve put my career between us, though that sounds horrid to me. I mean, newspapers are a dying breed. Ten years from now, there may be no Advocate. In fact, there’s a rumor going around town that someone may start up a radio station. How will that affect us? Again, I don’t have any cut-and-dried answers.MARY: What will you do if Vida Runkel, your House and Home editor, ever retires?EMMA: I can’t even think about that! An Advocate without Vida would be like Alpine with no mountains. But I don’t think she ever will--she’s strong as a horse, and she couldn’t bear not to be involved with the paper. If printer’s ink runs through my veins, curiosity runs through Vida’s. I’m not sure she needs a rationale to snoop, but as long as she’s on the staff, she has an excuse.MARY: One last question--do you think that you and Milo Dodge can ever be real friends again?EMMA: I hope so. I actually love Milo, but not necessarily in a romantic way. I suppose I’ve always felt he’s rather limited as a person. That’s not fair--who isn’t limited? But now that I see him in a new relationship, I must admit I feel jealous. Maybe annoyed is a better word. Or perhaps I worry about him. He’s kind of vulnerable, and I don’t want to see him hurt. I already did that to him, and he doesn’t deserve another unappreciative woman. I do wonder if there had never been a Tom Cavanaugh, would there have been an Emma Dodge? But that’s speculation, one of the things I am good at.MARY: Well, keep your spirits up, Emma. And thank you for the insights.EMMA: I’m the one who should be thanking you.

From Our Editors

The alphabetically ordered mystery series featuring the deceptively deadly town of Alpine reaches the letter J -- as in just great.