Long winter nights are perfect for snuggling up with a good book. For us skiers, what could be better than skiing by day and reading about skiing by night? Here are two new books I’ve found this fall, both of them mysteries, by Ski Diva Wendy Clinch.
If you are Stacey Curtis, the protagonist in Wendy Clinch’s Double Black, you don’t yell, you don’t cry, you simply turn around in shock, put the skis on the Subaru and flee to Vermont to become a ski bum.
A transplant from Boston, Stacey settles quickly into village life, finding a job at the local bar (aptly named the Broken Binding), finding a place to park her car out of the wind so that she can sleep for cheap, finding the best powder on the mountain, and finding a dead body in a condo.
The shock of seeing death prompts Stacey to get a real place to sleep and she ends up renting a room in the home of the local Sheriff, Guy Ramsey. Sharing a kitchen with the law and his family, she becomes privy to information about the case and eventually stumbles upon several clues which help find the killer.
Stacey is no Nancy Drew. She really doesn’t have much interest in solving the murder, she would rather ski. But she is no dummy either, and she can clearly recognize that it is in her own best interest that the murder be solved.
Personally, I like mysteries, but only insofar as they are not scary or gruesome (remember, I may call myself “brave,” but I am not). Double Black was a perfect light read. I enjoyed reading about Stacey’s ski bum life and friendship with Chip the back-to-nature ski patroller, and I also enjoyed trying to solve the mystery at the same time she was.
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy Double Black anymore than you have to be a jockey to enjoy the mysteries of Dick Francis or a Navajo to enjoy Tony Hillerman’s work. And I grew to like the characters, which is great, since they all take a reprise turn in Wendy’s new novel, Fade To White.
Fade To White finds us skiing along with Stacey and Chip as they tentatively push at the boundaries of their relationship and the boundaries of the ski area. Sneaking out of bounds for some moonlit skiing, Stacey skis over an obstacle and yard sales. While looking for her skis in the dim light and deep powder, Chip uncovers a frozen body.
When the victim turns out to be a once-famous movie star, Stacey is front and center as both a witness and this time, as a wanna-be detective. Having tasted some sleuthing success in Double Black, she is more eager to actively help on this case, so long as it doesn’t interfere with her skiing.
Fade to White introduces some new characters, including Stacey’s former beau who is ready to make up, and shows some of the seamier side of a small Vermont ski village. The story ends with a twist, but all the loose ends aren’t necessarily tied up. Will Stacey and Chip ever find time, in between murders, to take their relationship to the next level? What will Stacey do when ski season ends? And, who will be the next victim? There is sure to be one. Stay tuned!
Fade to White will be published on January 4, 2011. But one lucky reader won’t have to wait that long! I am giving away an Advance Readers Copy, signed by Wendy Clinch this weekend. Details on the giveaway will be posted on Friday, November 26. Entries will be accepted throughout the weekend with the drawing on Monday, November 29 at 10:00 a.m. MST.
For all the details, please visit the Brave Ski Mom blog this Friday, November 26.
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