The Alpine Yeoman by Mary Daheim
Rating: 3 Stars
Description: There's a lot going on the 25th book in Daheim's Alpine series. Newlyweds newspaper editor Emma Lord and Sheriff Milo Dodge are adapting to being married and sorting out the differences with their respective jobs. Two local girls have runaway in an unusually short amount of time. When a dead body shows up near the fish hatchery everyone expects the big story to be how he got there not trying to figure out who he is. In the middle of the chaos Deputy Sam Heppner goes missing. There are hints and rumors flying around everywhere but no one really seems to be saying much of anything.
Pros: I like the combination of editor and sheriff and the time devoted to them balancing their personal life and their jobs was interesting. I also enjoyed how the primary mystery was investigated through the sheriff's office while the secondary was investigated through the newspaper. The juxtaposition of methods was interesting. Emma and Milo were interesting and likable though flawed. The writing style and pacing were well done and the mystery was enjoyable.
Cons: There's a lot of back story. Every character that shows up has at least a paragraph explaining who they are, what legal trouble they or someone they're related to has been in and if there have been any problems associated with them. I understand in a small town you have a limited amount of characters and after 24 books everyone has been involved in one way or another but it got to be just a lot of information. It wouldn't have been a problem except that all the previous history was still affecting that character in someway that needed to be dealt with. While this would be true in real life it's a bit exhausting to keep up with in fiction. There was a lot of sniping back and forth between characters and anger unrelated to the mystery itself which cluttered up the story to the point where the mystery got lost at points. I also, and this could be purely personal as I'm a 2nd wife myself, but the constant conversations about Milo's ex-wife got to be a bit much. They talked about her every day and almost every interaction.involved her. Considering she doesn't even live in Alpine it just got a bit much. Knowing that Mulehide (as they call her) can't cook rice really doesn't improve the story or flesh out any of the actual characters.
Overall: I ended up liking this book especially in the last half when the mystery really got going. I wish there had been less time spent of so much detail and everyone being angry and more time spent on the investigations themselves. I enjoyed the combination of newspaper editor and sheriff and liked that they were both in roles where they could legitimately investigate. I think an earlier book in the series before there was so much back story would've been much more enjoyable.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes - an earlier one. I was confused enough in #25 that I think I'd need a chart to make sense of #26
Would I Recommend this Book?: If you've been reading this series than definitely. If you're new to Daheim than you may want to start with something else.