Editor/publisher Emma Lord is off and sleuthing after an amateur theatrical performance becomes much too real when one of the actors from the local community college is shot with a gun that supposedly wasn't loaded.
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The Alpine Council Dramatic Club is presenting a melodrama that will climax with the fatal shooting of the villain. On opening night the cast and audience are quite surprised to find that the bullets were real and not blanks. Who could have switched them?

Emma Lord, editor and publisher of the weekly Alpine Advocate, is in the audience and quickly begins investigating the murder. Hans Berenger was the dean of students at the local community college. He wasn't well liked. There is a plethora of suspects. Emma gets assistance from Vida Runkel, the Advocate's House and Home Editor. Can they discover the identity of the real killer before Emma finds herself the next victim

I really enjoy this series. Emma is a great character. Sheriff Milo Dodge and Vida Runkel are great as well. I like the small-town setting in Washington state. I recognize many of the mentioned landmarks. Plus have the protagonist be the weekly newspaper editor really lends itself in this great cozy series. The author has done a great job of creating a small town I'd like to visit and plotting a mystery that kept me guessing as to the identity of the killer.

I highly recommend this book and series.

Dawn Dowdle

Emma Lord is the publisher/editor of the local newspaper in the small town of Alpine, Washington. When a play group is resurrected to perform in the local college playhouse she attends with misgivings. Emma feels that the night will last an eternity.

While one of many snowstorms gathers strength outside of the theater, Emma watches the play with her House & Home editor, Vida, who is lauding her grandson's questionable acting ability. Emma can't wait for the night to end. However, when one of the actors is shot in the last act, she knows that it will be a long night for an entirely different reason.

Sheriff Milo Dodge banishes Emma and Vida from the theater, but Emma stays behind to gather information for her newspaper story. She gives her neighbor, Destiny Parsons who is the author of the play, a ride home to find Destiny's dog, Abuzz, dead on the back porch of a broken neck.

Vida's grandson Roger tells Sheriff Dodge about a "bushy-haired stranger" he saw the night of the play, but with his reputation for mischief Roger is not taken seriously for a while. Vida, who believes the sun rises and sets over Roger, begins to ask her own questions.

Emma and Vida begin their own investigation despite Vida's new radio show with Emma's arch enemy at the local radio station and gradually they begin to untie the knot of mystery. Emma even consults a rival newspaper reporter to get to the bottom of the story.

Mary Daheim has created likable and believable characters in this series. She has done a admirable job recreating small town life. I find her book to be engaging and well written. I would recommend this book without any reservations.

Mary Fairchild