The picturesque town of Alpine in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is decked out in holiday finery, but family troubles are brewing at the Alpine Advocate: Editor and publisher Emma Lord is fretting over how her brother and her son—both priests—will react when she confesses her passionate affair with Sheriff Milo Dodge; House & Home editor Vida Runkel realizes that her spoiled grandson has gone off the rails; and Emma’s star reporter goes AWOL after learning that his son has escaped from prison. And yet another Alpine family is singing the Christmas blues when Postmaster Roy Everson shows up with bones that may or not belong to his mother, who’s been missing for the last sixteen years.|
But the most disturbing holiday dilemma is the body found in the cave on Mount Sawyer. The decomposed corpse is that of a mature male, so it can’t be Mama Everson. Is there a connection between this long-ago disappearance and the gruesome bones discovered earlier downstream on the Skykomish River?
When Milo returns from his own family ordeal in the Seattle suburbs, he and Emma find time away from the unnerving investigation to reunite. Their all-too-obvious ardor evokes not only Vida’s wrath but the attention of a dogged killer who thinks the lovers’ bliss is to die for . . . literally. Scandal, intrigue, desire, and untimely death are all pieces to this tantalizing puzzle. If anyone can put it together, it’s Emma . . . hopefully before a dangerous enemy tries to stop her—permanently. Mary Daheim’s Christmas installment in the Emma Lord mystery series is a deliciously chilling holiday treat.