Well that was one way of getting back to the Swiss Alps during the lock-down – reading Kathryn Adams’ follow up novel: Summer Shadows in Grondère. She had already penned Death in Grondère, and the sequel made an enjoyable if light-hearted read, even without the snows of winter.
Indeed, to be fair, Kathryn herself has never intended her two crime-in- the-Alps books to be quite as deep as the best powder in Verbier, the Swiss resort where she lives and on which Grondère is loosely based.
Spread over the two books, a number of people get murdered, so it’s a little complicated, with as many characters as there are in War and Peace. So you need to concentrate!
There’s a hint of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle in the books. Much of Summer Shadows focuses on The Reichenbach Falls, the scene of Sherlock Holmes’ apparent demise in a death struggle with his most celebrated foe, James Moriarty. Unlike Holmes, later brought back to life by Arthur Conan Doyle after changing his mind about the famous detective’s apparent 820 feet plunge, the deaths in the two Grondère books are all too real!
The central character is Lucy Wilson, an English woman who has settled in Grondère as a ski instructor, along with her ski bum friends, including Poppy and Sally.
“What Lucy and Poppy did not know” Kathryn writes, “was that their week in the Bernese Alps would cast a long shadow over their summer.”
Kathryn is good on detail about their eating, and drinking, and various relationships. She’s perhaps at her best describing the Alpine scenery, Swiss traditions and skiing, of course.
Death in Grondère opens with a woman dying during a climbing trip 40 years earlier. Did she slip or was she pushed?
There are more mysterious deaths, including Danny, a senior Swiss senior instructor with a crush on Lucy, but who dies in an avalanche.
The mystery elements centre around the owner of the resort’s five-star hotel (a friendly Scot), his scheming ex-wife and gold-digger fiancée.
In the first book (no spoiler alert as this volume was published in 2017!) Lucy becomes a major suspect when she’s persuaded by the ex-wife to help out as a hotel waitress at a major charity ball. During the dinner the hotel owner becomes ill after eating some soup and dies. Suspicion falls on Lucy as she was the one serving the soup at this table.
It later turns out that it was actually the hotel owner’s daughter who killed her father (because he was cutting her allowance) with the help of her mother (the scheming ex-wife).
Just as the case is being prepared for trial, the body of the woman who fell to her death of 40 years earlier turns up.
The good-looking policeman in charge of the investigation falls for Lucy (of course) and he happens to own an old chalet, just like the one Lucy always wanted to live in.
You don’t have to read the first book to enjoy the second – but it helps!
Oh, and one more thing I liked about the book (for personal reasons!)
One of the sub-plots involves a certain Lord Shilton, and which of the characters inherits the title. The name is based on the former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Peter Shilton. As a life-long Forest fan, I was glad to discover that the title went to a good man and not the main villain!
If you would like to get hold of a copy of Kathryn’s book you can order it from www.ypdbooks.com price £6.99. It can also be ordered from any good bookshop by quoting the ISBN No: 978-0-9957427-6-5, and it is available on Amazon, Kindle, Kobo and iBook.
You may also be interested in these articles:
Death in Grondere by Kathryn Adams
Read all the other #skiblogs from Arnie Wilson
Read all the other #skiblogs from Kathryn Adams
Read more about Verbier.