Even though this is a short book, only 217 pages, the plot covers a lot of ground. The story has several narrators, starting with Jane Weston, who has moved to a small chalet in the Swiss Alps. She is a sculptor and befriends a young woman who models for her. Her young friend, Anne-Marie, marries a local ski instructor, Robert Drivaz, and Jane helps them find a place to live. She invites Emmy and Henry Tibbett to visit at Christmas, since she knows how they love to ski.
Months later, Robert gets involved with a group of visitors who are either rich or famous and becomes infatuated with a film actress. He is murdered and everyone, including Jane, think that Anne-Marie killed her husband because she was jealous. In fact, it is Jane's evidence that convicts Anne-Marie of the crime. Emmy and Henry return for another vacation visit in September, and Henry begins to think that the conviction was a mistake.
This is a very simplified version of the setup for this book and it really tells more than I like to reveal about a book, but I could not come up with anything better that conveyed the story at all. Every summary of this book that I find uses the description that is on the back of my paperback edition, and it is full of errors.
I picked this book to read at this time because of its connection to the Christmas season, which is slim. As a confirmed fan of Henry and Emmy Tibbett, I found this to be an enjoyable read, but I would hesitate to recommend it to first time readers of the Henry Tibbett series. Henry and Emmy are less involved in this one and I would not consider it representative of the series. However, the structure of the plots varies from book to book in this series, and I consider this a plus.
For me, the best aspect of this book is the shift from one narrator to another throughout the story, from Jane Weston, to Emmy, to the rich wife of a government official, and back to Emmy. On the negative side, the characters seemed to be either very, very nice or very sleazy and self-centered. And the plot was overly complex and a bit slow.
The books in the Henry Tibbett series are often set in exotic and interesting locales. This one and the first in the series, Dead Men Don't Ski, are set in the Alps, and feature skiing. Others are set in Holland and the Caribbean.
Recent reviews of other novels by Patricia Moyes:
- Margot's Spotlight on Dead Men Don't Ski (1958) at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist
- Moira of Clothes in Books: Death on the Agenda (1962) and Murder a la Mode (1963)
- My review of Johnny Under Ground (1965)
- Sergio at Tipping My Fedora reviews Who is Simon Warwick? (1978)
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1983. Orig. pub. 1971.
Length: 217 pages
Series: Henry Tibbett, #10
Setting: Alpine village
Source: Purchased at the Planned Parenthood book sale, 2014.