The Alpine Nemesis: An Emma Lord Mystery by Mary DaheimThe Alpine Nemesis: An Emma Lord Mystery by Mary Daheim

The Alpine Nemesis: An Emma Lord Mystery

byMary Daheim

Mass Market Paperback | October 2, 2001

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Two months after an unlucky snowboarder vanished on the slopes above Alpine, his disappearance is old copy. Emma Lord, publisher of the Alpine Advocate, is back to writing about graduations and the latest outbreak of chicken pox-until the town's oldest family feud flares up, leaving three people dead, their bodies stowed in a meat freezer. The startling discovery of a fourth body sharing the victims' chilly repose launches Emma on the story of a lifetime. But as she races to scoop the upstart radio station with the late-breaking news, Emma unwittingly uncovers a shocking conspiracy that will change her life forever. . . .

The Alpine Advocate
Novels by Mary Daheim

BONUS FEATURE: "My Alpine" by Mary Daheim
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...
Title:The Alpine Nemesis: An Emma Lord MysteryFormat:Mass Market PaperbackPublished:October 2, 2001Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345421256

ISBN - 13:9780345421258

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Alpine Nemisis is one of the better books in this series The mystery plot is weird but well done. The somewhat irritating Tom problem is resolved. The IRA idea seems unlikely but I enjoyed the book.
Date published: 2017-03-13

Read from the Book

I hate the term scoop. I don’t know its derivation in newspaper terms, but I hate it anyway. What I hate even more is having it done to me and The Alpine Advocate. But two months ago that’s what happened for the first time in my career as an editor and publisher.Spencer Fleetwood, owner and operator of my nemesis, radio station KSKY, managed to scoop me on a story about a missing snowboarder on Mount Baldy. I’ve never liked Spence, as he calls himself, probably because he’s so full of himself. And, to be candid, because he’s provided the Advocate with the only serious competition I’ve ever faced. Furthermore, I think his radio station with its weak little signal and prepackaged DJs is just one step up from shouting through a megaphone on a soapbox in Old Mill Park.But he beat me on the snowboarder story, and I’m still mad. It started with the “exclusive report” of the missing snowboarder. I’m still not certain how Spence got the so-called scoop, but it was probably from one of the park rangers. In the past, they’ve always come to me first with any breaking news. I suspect Spence was hanging on to a barstool at the Venison Inn when one of the rangers came off duty and the story fell into his lap before he fell onto the floor.“You’re being unfair,” Leo Walsh, my ad manager, declared for about the fiftieth time in the ten weeks that had passed since the snowboarder’s disappearance. “Drop it. That’s the only story he’s beat you on since he started up the station last summer. Face it, the Advocate’s a weekly. With daily radio competition, you’re bound to get beat now and then.”I shook a finger in Leo’s weathered face. “Don’t patronize me! Don’t humor me!”“Hey!” Leo batted my hand away and scowled. “Don’t wag your finger at me!”I stared into Leo’s green eyes. He was wearing the look that he usually reserved for advertisers who were late with their payments. It was also a look he’d probably used in years gone by for his ex-wife, the publishers who had canned him, and the bartenders who’d refused him a last drink before closing time.I backed off. “Okay,” I said crossly. “I’m sorry. But you, of all people on the staff, know what a pain in the butt this Fleetwood is. You’ve had to hustle twice as hard since he got here just to keep us faintly in the black.”The hard-edged glint faded from Leo’s eyes as he perched on the edge of his desk and lighted a cigarette. “Get used to it,” Leo said, squinting through a cloud of smoke. “He’s been around for a while. Besides, I thought you’d be in a better mood these days since your knight in shining armor showed up.”I thought I detected bitterness in Leo’s tone, but maybe I was flattering myself. “I was glad Tom visited me, of course,” I said in an uncharacteristically formal tone. “I hadn’t seen him in over a year.” More like two, I thought with a pang, but managed to keep my head up and my gaze steady.Leo burst out laughing. “Come on, Emma, you practically hyperventilated the day he got here. How many times did you walk into the wall? Four?”“Twice,” I said sharply. “But that was because the phone rang the first time, and the second time Vida screamed.”“The mouse,” Leo said, looking amused. My House and Home editor, Vida Runkel, was afraid of neither man nor beast—except for mice. “The mouse was more afraid of the Duchess,” Leo asserted, using the nickname Vida loathed. “I thought she was faking it. The next day I figured she’d show up with stuffed mice all over one of her damned hats.”“Even Vida is occasionally vulnerable,” I said, though her armor was as solid as that of anybody I’d ever met.Leo and I seemed to have reached neutral territory. I smiled and went over to the coffee urn to fill my Seattle Mariners mug, a gift from my onetime lover, Sheriff Milo Dodge. I was stirring in a teaspoon of sugar when my only reporter, Scott Chamoud, came through the door.“Hey, what’s up?” Scott inquired, dumping a dark green backpack on his desk by the coffee urn. “Is this Monday, or am I in a fog?”My smile turned wry. “Both, maybe.”Scott gave me his killer grin. “I did have a good weekend, now that I think about it.”Scott, who is so tall, dark and handsome that he’s a cliché, had fallen in love with a local lass. Frankly, his choices were limited in Alpine, with its slightly more than three thousand population. I’d figured Scott, at twenty-six, would probably fall for a student from the community college. Instead he had succumbed to the charms of one of the instructors, the thirty-something Tamara Rostova, whose dark beauty rivaled his own.“Sheesh,” Leo exclaimed, stubbing out his cigarette, “love is in the Alpine air. I feel lonesome.”The smile I gave Leo probably conveyed more amusement than pity. “You don’t seem to be looking very hard since you broke up with Delphine Corson.”“Delphine?” Vida stood in the doorway, majestic as ever in a hat with tulips plastered all over its straw brim. “What about Delphine? Did she break her engagement to Spike Canby?”Leo gave Vida a wry glance. “Spike left town when the construction crew headed for a job in Everett. Ergo, down at the flower shop, Delphine’s run out of daisies to pull apart for ‘He loves me, he loves me not.’ ”Scott was looking puzzled. “Sometimes I feel like I miss things around here. Is that because I wasn’t born in Skykomish County?”“Exactly,” Vida declared, with a bob of the tulips. “You can’t possibly know everyone’s background unless you were born and raised here.”Leo, Scott, and I exchanged bemused expressions. None of us could claim to be a native, and even I, with the longest tenure—over a decade—in Alpine, was still frequently treated as an outsider. To balance off our staff, the two other locals—besides Vida, of course—came into the editorial office. Kip MacDuff, who ran the backshop, and Ginny Erlandson, our business manager and receptionist, both looked fresh-faced and eager on this Monday morning in June. Kip and Ginny were both redheads, but no relation unless Vida knew a long-ago secret she had never shared with me.Ginny’s face fell when she approached the coffee urn. “Where are the pastries?” she asked forlornly.Scott slapped a hand to his forehead. “I forgot! Darn, I’ll run down to the Upper Crust Bakery right now.” He was out the door before anyone could say “bear claw.”“Scott’s in love,” I said.Kip lifted his eyebrows. “That college teacher? She’s hot.”“Kip!” Vida sounded severe. “That’s no way to speak of a young lady.”Kip barely managed a contrite expression. He had known Vida since he was a baby; like most of Alpine’s younger generation, he had often been scolded by her. Vida was either related to half the under-forty set or had baby-sat for their parents. They all knew better than to talk back. And that included the older generation.“Scott’s serious about Tammy,” Ginny declared, putting lo-cal sweetener into her coffee. “I hope he’s not in over his head.”“He’s fine,” Leo asserted. “He’s a city boy, originally.”Vida’s head whipped around so fast that her hat almost flew off. “So?”Leo shrugged. “I mean that Tamara Rostova strikes me as more worldly than most of . . . the few girls Scott’s dated since he came to work for the Advocate.” My ad manager recovered quickly from what I’m sure was an Alpine gaffe. “But Scott’s reasonably sophisticated, so the age difference doesn’t matter much.”Vida snorted, then started to launch into a diatribe, which was cut short by the arrival of Al Driggers, the local undertaker. “Death news,” Al intoned, looking as gaunt and gray as some of the corpses he embalmed. “The first one since mid-April.” Death was bad for most people, but good for Al. The profit motive, of course.Vida practically jumped out of her seat. “Who?” she demanded.“Oscar Nyquist,” Al responded. “He died this morning at five-oh-five. Heart attack.”“Oscar!” Vida yanked off her glasses and blinked several times at Al. “Goodness, he must have been over ninety. I should have known. I’d heard that he’d been shopping for caskets.”“Ninety-two come August twenty-first,” Al responded, handing Vida the notice. “Yes, he selected one that was top of the line, what I call Celestial Blue, both inside and out. Very comfortable. Oscar couldn’t take his eyes off it. Strange, in a way—I thought he’d live to be a hundred. Oh, well. You never know.”Oscar owned the local movie theatre, the Whistling Marmot. He was a widower, but had extended family in Skykomish County. Vida pounced on the funeral date.“Saturday?” She was aghast. “At two o’clock? There are four weddings scheduled that afternoon. Then, in the evening, there’s the Alpine High School graduation. Whatever were you thinking of, Al?”From the expression on Al’s long face, he hadn’t been thinking as hard as Vida. “Well . . . the family wanted it then. I would’ve suggested an earlier time, but some of the relatives have to come from out of town. Oscar wanted to be buried with his parents, in Oppdal, Norway.”“Ridiculous,” Vida declared. “His wife’s buried right here in Alpine. Where did he get such a silly idea? And what’s that got to do with when the funeral is held? The out-of-towners could come Friday and stay overnight. You won’t have half the turnout for Oscar you’d have if the funeral were at ten, or even on Friday. What’s wrong with Friday?”Al considered his answer. “The out-of-towners,” he finally said, in his deliberate manner. “They couldn’t make it.”“Pooh.” Vida waved a dismissive hand and put her glasses back on. “They could if they tried. You should have insisted on a better time. As it is, many people will be torn between attending the funeral and the weddings. Of course there will be better food at the bridal receptions. But you really can’t cut one short to run off to the other. Think of the emotional mood swing required. This could start some feuds.”

Bookclub Guide

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.

Editorial Reviews

“Witty one-liners and amusing characterizations.”
Publishers Weekly

“Daheim writes . . . with dry wit, a butter-smooth style and obvious wicked enjoyment. . . . Kick off your shoes by the fire and get cozy with the latest by Mary Daheim.”
Portland Oregonian

“This is good, solid storytelling–marvelous escapist entertainment.”
Tacoma News Tribune