On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
A Midlife Mountain Murder (Alaska Campground Cozy Mysteries)
1st in Series – Alaska
Independently Published (July 21, 2023)
Paperback : 136 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8853055971
Kindle ASIN : B0C42G7YSB
Camping can be murder.
After a messy divorce, Vicki Vandermoon packed everything she cared about into a VW camper van and left her cheating husband miles behind to start over in her 40s as a campground host in a gorgeous national park in Alaska.
Vicki has always loved the outdoors and quickly fits in with her quirky new neighbors. Even the cute dachshund in the campsite next door has adopted her, and everything is coming up wildflowers.
But when a previously healthy and active camper drops dead on one of Vicki’s flower-finding hikes, and the police write it off as natural causes, she’s going to have to call on all of her ingenuity and her new friends’ loyalty to learn the truth. There’s something rotten in the campground outside of the bear-proof trash cans, and it’s up to Vicki to unmask a killer, or she and her friends might be next …
Divorced and on her own in her 40s, Vicki Vandermoon has always loved the great outdoors so she decides to start her life over in Alaska. She has loaded up everything she needs and holds dear in a VW camper van and will park it in a beautiful national park where she has been hired as a campground host.
Living at the Spruce Cone Campground in Alaska’s beautiful Denali Park requires some adjustment because the sun barely sets in Alaska during the summer and she keeps waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning instead of 6 or 7. She also has to travel across the campground to shower and eat her meals at a picnic table but she is exactly where she wants to be.
A group calling themselves the Vagabonds had been staying at the campground for a couple of days birdwatching, taking hikes, and enjoying everything the park had to offer. When one of them dies on one of Vicki’s flower-finding hikes, it is written off as natural causes but Vicki doesn’t think there was anything natural about the death and she is going to prove it. Her biggest fear so far is coming face to face with a bear, now she needs to fear coming face to face with a killer. Can she trap the killer? or will her days in Alaska end much too soon?
I love that Vicki escaped to Alaska following her divorce and that she enjoys the campground life. She is smart, practical, and organized and makes a fantastic campground host. She is super friendly and takes her time to get to know the campers. Vicki becomes fast friends with her neighbor Miranda who she deems a latter-day hippie. She has a soft Tennessee drawl, and is one of those people who can pull off wearing a muumuu. She has a 3-wheel bicycle she rides everywhere usually with her long-haired black and tan dachshund, Barksley in his soft-sided pet trailer.
We also meet Vicki’s boss Lloyd who is a bit of a curmudgeon and a tall, tanned, and prematurely grey, “hot pilot” Elliot. He tags along on a hike so that he see if it is something he can recommend to his customers. And then there are the Vintage Vagabonds. They are a group of seniors touring the country in their RVs. Sue, Birdie, Lou, Elyse, Dottie, Frank, Mitzi, and Lulu are a quirky group of characters. I was able to identify with Elyse because she has a disability that requires a wheelchair or walker depending on the circumstances, like me.
Ms. Ecker plotted out an intriguing mystery where all the suspects are Vagabonds. I appreciated the way Vicki approached them with her questions in such a comfortable way. She does need to practice her snooping or take along Miranda as a lookout though. The setup for the reveal was clever but the showdown was fabulous. I loved it.
I enjoyed the campground setting in Alaska and how the author set the scenes. From the sunrises and sunsets to hikes through the woods and all around the campground and beyond. Everywhere Vicki went I felt like a butterfly on her shoulder.
A Midlife Mountain Murder was a captivating little cozy with an engaging protagonist and an entertaining mystery. Ms. Ecker packs a lot into just 136 pages. I have downloaded book 2, A Case of Moose-Taken Identity, and the prequel, The Dachshund and the Gold Digger. I hope to read and share my thoughts about them soon.
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About the Author
Julie Ecker writes quirky, clean cozy mystery with a classic mystery flair.