THE ALPINE ZEN by Mary Daheim
This is Daheim’s 27th outing in the Emma Lord series and perhaps her last. Emma, publisher and editor of the Alpine newspaper, and her Sheriff husband, Milo Dodge, are the hero and heroine of this romp in murder and mayhem. All of the usual characters are present which will please followers of the series, but may confuse new readers. There is so much going on in small town Alpine -- murder, wife beating, missing persons, confused identities, etc., etc. -- that even long time readers will find this outing a bit confusing and disjointed. It appears that Daheim had several “good ideas” still in her Emma Lord file and tried to use them all. If you can keep all the name changes straight the plot thickens and the resolution makes sense.
A good mystery for mystery buffs who love convoluted plotting and well developed characters. You won’t find gore or gratuitous violence, but if you are offended by smoking (often), drinking (before every meal) and sexual innuendo (mostly within marriage), skip this one and find another mystery.
3 of 5 stars