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THE ALPINE YEOMAN
by Mary Daheim
Ballantine, March 2014
336 pages
$26.00
ISBN: 0345535332


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

As anyone who has married later in life knows, adjusting to a new and intimate relationship isn't always easy, no matter how much one loves the other. Emma Lord and Milo Dodge are newlyweds, and each has some baggage. Emma has known Milo for a very long time, and is familiar with many of his idiosyncrasies and the issues he has (both personal and professional) with her job as a newspaper owner. Milo, on the other hand, has an ex-wife he refers to as "Old Mulehide" and has put up with Emma's love life (such as it has been) for as long as he's known her, not to mention her snooping into his business as the sheriff when she feels it is appropriate and necessary for a story. Those are just the big things.

Right now, Emma is wondering why Vida Runkel has been in a snit for the last little while. She's also wondering how she can possible replace one of her staff, who is seriously considering moving closer to his kids and his ex-wife. Milo, on the other hand, has an unidentified corpse out at the fish hatchery, and one of his more reliable deputies has taken time off - for an unspecified amount of time, reasons not given.

Both of them are wondering about the high school girls who seem to have disappeared, even though the school and the families involved don't seem to be particularly concerned.

As the series approaches its logical conclusion (where will Daheim take this after the next book - Z?), it's a pleasure to see how she brings Emma and Milo to a natural marriage, a marriage that has grown inevitable over the course of many books. Emma's growth as a woman is a delight to watch, as is Milo's long-suffering yet enduring love for Emma. Still, the mystery is at least as important to this book as the romance is and Daheim hasn't lost her touch in that realm. It's good to see Alpine change over the course of a decade or more - even small towns in Washington can't stagnate and remain alive. Frequently the mysteries in the series have to do with those events, both negative and positive. YEOMAN deals with one of each, and then some. There are always readers who want to figure out "who dunnit"; others just enjoy the ride. Daheim offers plenty of challenge for the first group, and a great ride for the second.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, May 2014

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