Judith Flynn, stalwart bed-and-breakfast proprietor, takes an unexpected catering job with her cousin Renie. A local phone company is having an executive retreat at a mountain lodge. All Judith has to do is show up with the food, present one nice dinner, leave enough goodies for the weekend, and leave. Piece of cake. And the check will be fat.
Problems arise when a storm blows in and the two cousins are trapped for the weekend with the phone executives. This comes hard on the heels of their discovery of a body, apparently the garroted remains of last year's caterer, who left for a walk and never came back. Soon another phone person is dead, and it appears that the murderer is a retreat member. But who? And will the murderer strike again?
Snow Place to Die was a bit like a sitcom mystery in that most of the characters and situations are over-the-top. Events that are key to the story are implausible. For example, when the caterer's remains are discovered, Judith and Renie try to call the police to report the body. However, every number they try is answered by a voice telling them that the lodge is "out of our jurisdiction". No offers of help are forthcoming, and nobody knows how to dial the operator. Maybe in a movie starring Chevy Chase, but in a mystery novel? No.
The secondary characters are just as bad. If this is the phone company, bring back the carrier pigeon. These "executives" throw food, call each other names, and manage to act both childish and amoral at the same time. Quite a feat in characterization, but not one that lends itself to fun reading.
I wanted to like Snow Place to Die, but it was uphill reading to finish the story. By the time the murderer is unmasked, I was tired of these people. I half-hoped the whole lot of them would be killed off. It wouldn't have bothered me.
No doubt Judith has more murders to solve. Let's hope the next bunch of folks she runs into have a tad more intelligence.