Snow Place for Murder (Mountain Lodge Mysteries)
3rd in Series
Setting – North Carolina
St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 24, 2023)
Mass Market Paperback : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1250816017
ISBN-13 : 978-1250816016
Kindle ASIN : B0BQGHWH79
International resort developer Nigel Goodwin has traveled all the way from London, England to Misty Murphy’s little corner of North Carolina and bought out the Mountaintop Lodge for the week prior to Christmas. Their intention? To pitch an exclusive new resort concept to wealthy American investors.
But locals are at odds over the idea, and when a group comes to the lodge to express their worries to Mr. Goodwin and the potential investors, a blizzard hits Beech Mountain. Like the weather outside, things quickly get frosty, and Misty has to call local police to intervene. Handyman Rocky Crowder plows the lodge’s drive and, in an attempt to regain a jovial holiday atmosphere, smooths the snow pile into a makeshift sledding hill for the guests to enjoy.
Misty’s boys have finished their exams and are “home” from college for the winter break, planning to spend most of their time snowboarding at the ski resort. While taking a few runs down Rocky’s sledding hill, they discover a funny-looking, nose-shaped rock. Only it’s not a rock. It’s the frozen nose of Nigel Goodwin, who’s found dead and buried under the mound of snow.
Who put the developer on ice and why?
The Mountaintop Lodge in North Carolina is fully booked the week before Christmas. Nigel Gorden wants to develop a resort nearby and has invited a group of wealthy American investors to give them his pitch and a skiing vacation.
The new resort proposed is getting mixed feedback from the local community. A group against the proposal had come to Misty Murphy’s lodge to voice their opinions but it didn’t go well and she had to call in the police to clear them out.
Later, a blizzard blows in dumping fresh powder on the mountain. When handyman Rocky Crowder clears the snow from the lodge’s drive and parking lot he makes a sledding hill for everyone to enjoy, including Misty’s sons who are helping at the lodge during their holiday break. They are excited to try it out and they make an interesting discovery, a weird rock that isn’t really a rock. When Misty realizes what it is, she and Rocky rush to the hill and start digging. They find international resort developer Nigel Goodwin’s dead frozen body.
Who would resort to murder to stop the developer and why? Misty may have a killer on the premises so she needs to help the police ice them out before they strike again or getaway with murder.
I love that this story takes place at Christmas time because it brings Misty’s and Rocky’s children and Misty’s ex too, to the lodge. Jack and Misty have a very amicable divorce. They are truly friends and always put their college-age sons, J.J. and Mitch, first. Rocky’s daughter Pebble arrives early and takes a job at the diner across the parking lot. His other two daughters, his son-in-law, and granddaughter arrive on Christmas day. Brynn, Misty’s friend and right-hand woman was away for the holidays but diner owner Patty was as busy as ever. She and her truck driver husband did share New Year’s Eve with Misty and Rocky. Ms. Kelly makes it so easy to get invested in her characters. The comfortable relationships between everyone are so heartwarming. I like the way the author is letting Misty and Rocky’s relationship slowly evolve.
There were plenty of suspects to work through regarding Nigel’s death. Was it one of his guests? or someone local trying to stop the resort? The author throws in many twists and turns and the actual motive was surprising. I really enjoy that Misty works with the police. She keeps her ears and eyes open, asks a few questions here and there, and reports back to Deputy Highcloud everything she learns. She does get involved at the end and she and Rocky are present for the exciting arrest.
Ms. Kelly sets each scene so well. This being the third book in the series I have a clear picture of the lodge, the diner, and the nearby surroundings. It is easy to feel you are right there in the moment wherever the characters go. The blizzard had me shivering. The weather in the mountains is similar to what we have here. After enduring Wisconsin winters my whole life I felt for everyone that had to go out in it for any reason.
I love that Misty’s cat, Yeti gets to have her own moments. Short little chapters from her point of view about what the “ridiculous creatures” i.e. crazy humans are doing or not doing.
Snow Place for Murder is a wonderful addition to this series. A little fictional vacay to Beech Mountain and the Mountaintop Lodge for the holidays was pretty delightful sans the murder of course.
I have enjoyed every book in this series. The mystery is contained in each book so they all can be read on their own but I recommend reading them all in order for maximum enjoyment.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”