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The Alpine Christmas    by Mary Daheim order for
Alpine Christmas
by Mary Daheim
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 1996 (1993)

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

If you're not yet quite in the holiday spirit, get yourself a copy of The Alpine Christmas. This book plunged me right into Christmas preparations that touched my heart. As a bonus, there is a good mystery.

While fishing near the town of Alpine, eighty miles east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains, an angler hooks a woman's severed leg. The catch progresses from one body part to a whole cadaver with both legs intact - indicating, of course, there were two women involved. Emma Lord, editor and publisher of the Alpine Advocate, wants to know who these women were, as well as why they were in Alpine and who killed them. Emma and Ginny Burmeister, her office manager, take on the job of prying into other people's lives to find the answers. Snow and icy roads are as much a part of the story as are the characters in this third book in the Emma Lord series.

Milo Dodge, the town's sheriff, welcomes Emma's help while trying to keep her out of danger - a touch of unrequited love to keep a reader's interest. One of the town fathers, crusty Oscar Nyquist, complains of mischievous pranks, which to my mind add to the delight of the book. I got thoroughly caught up in the decorations and baking for the holiday and loved the feel of a small town that was so evident in this cozy. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this book. Read it quickly and pass it on to any 'bah humbug' friend that you might have. It's guaranteed to put them in the mood for the holidays.

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