Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Murder on Location (A Charlotte Brody Mystery #3)

Author:  Cathy Pegau
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #: 9781496700582
Kensington Publishing
288 Pages
$15.00; $9.99 Amazon
February 28, 2017


In the Alaska Territory, suffragette Charlotte Brody is a newspaper reporter in the frontier town of Cordova.  She's a woman ahead of her time living on the rugged edge of civilization - but right now the most dangerous element she faces may come from sunny California...

An expedition has arrived in the frigid wilderness to shoot North to Fortune - an epic motion picture featuring authentic footage of majestic peaks, vast glaciers, homesteaders, and Alaska Natives.  but the film's fortunes begin to go south as a local Native group grows angry at how they're portrayed in the movie, fights break out, and cast and crew are beset by accidents and assaults.  Finally, production is halted when the inebriated director falls into a crevasse - and dies of exposure.

Soon Michael Brody - the town coroner and Charlotte's brother - starts to suspect that Mother Nature was not responsible for Stanley Welsh's death.  Charlotte, who's been writing about all the Hollywood glamour, is suddenly covering a cold-blooded crime story - and as springtime storms keep the suspects snowed in, she has to make sure the truth doesn't get buried...


Charlotte Brody is a newswoman in 1920's Alaskan Territory.  It seems a movie crew is there to film, but they've caused the ire of the Alaskan (territory at that time) natives, who feel they're being portrayed in an unflattering light.  When she arrives at the train station to greet them, there is a group of Native protesters also, who demand that certain scenes in the film be changed to show them positively, not as the villains of the piece.

When Charlotte is invited to attend the filming, she brings along her ward Becca who is to be an extra in the movie.  But Becca's enthusiasm doesn't last long when the next morning the film's director Stanley Welsh is found dead in a crevasse - and Charlotte informs everyone they have to stay put while both the coroner, her brother Michael and law enforcement - in the form of Deputy James Eddington - arrive to examine the scene.

Once it is discovered that Stanley was indeed murdered, then the task of finding the killer becomes paramount.  They know it had to be someone in the remote camp, but since Stanley rubbed many people the wrong way - including his daughter, Cicely - finding the person responsible won't be easy.  Especially since the producer wants the movie stopped, but  Cicely, the new director, wants to proceed along with the rest of the crew.  And Charlotte finds out that the movie has had its share of bad luck already, long before a death was added into the equation.
Charlotte, in her role as a reporter, is just the person to help with the investigation, since she can ask questions and the film might be more willing to talk to her, being a journalist and not an officer of the law.  She's promised to share anything she learns with James, who is also her beau.  But when Charlotte starts digging just a little too deep, and the accidents that have been plaguing the cast of the movie grow, the next one might just be one accident too many...

While I felt the book started out a little slow, things began to pick up once the murder was committed.  I felt at that point the book began to get more interesting; and while I thought there were a couple of scenes that felt odd (like people actually encouraging her to have sex) it didn't distract from my enjoyment of the book.

When we come to the end and the killer is revealed, it makes one realize that self-preservation is indeed a strong motive for some; and those that are the most heroic don't always appear to be so in the beginning.  An enjoyable read that is recommended to all.

More on Cathy Pegau's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/p/cathy-pegau/

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