‘The End of Snow’ A Squaw Valley murder mystery novel by Prudy Grimes
Reviewed by Ted Lipien
A death in Squaw Valley may mean the death of Squaw Valley, at least as we know it now.
Prudy Grimes’ debut full-length mystery novel, “The End of Snow,” is subtitled “Murder in Squaw Valley: A Laura Bailey Snow Science Mystery.” Snow science shouldn’t be this deadly!, readers are warned.
You don’t have to be a believer in global warming to enjoy reading this murder mystery novel by a locally-based writer, skier and winner of literary awards for her short stories. You may in fact enjoy it even more if you are a climate change sceptic. Prudy Grimes, who taught writing for many years at the University of Pittsburgh, knows how to tell a story and keep readers in suspense until the very end. Snow science — the passion of the main protagonist, Laura Bailey — reveals something quite different from what people may think about climate change as a threat to the environment.
“While checking out some puzzling early snow melt in the high Sierra ski resort of Squaw Valley, snow scientist Laura Bailey finds herself involved in the disappearance of an environmental lawyer and her anti-fracking activist friend,” a blurb on the cover temps a reader. Saying anything more about the plot might spoil the enjoyment of reading this excellent book. The suspense builds as the search for the missing skiers gets underway.
As any good novel, this one also explores basic human emotions. For some of the characters in Prudy Grimes’ book, it is definitely greed. For others, it is a desire for status and love, which can also lead to murder. No one is perfect. Laura Bailey is as vulnerable as most people are.
What made this book especially appealing for me was its setting in the Squaw Valley – Truckee – Donner Lake – Tahoe Lake region. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful mountain resort area being threatened by overdevelopment driven by greed.
But is the disappearance of snow along with diminishing water supplies linked with human activity?
Laura Bailey thinks she knows the answer to this question. It may not be what you expect. “What she discovers just might be the end of her,” readers are told. Will she and others pay the ultimate price as their snow science threatens the profits of a few rich corporate owners?
One-percenters may fly here in their private jets, leaving behind pollution and noise over hiking trails and lakes for local residents and tourists to endure. Most of these successful entrepreneurs see themselves as good citizens, big friends of the environment and creators of jobs and prosperity. But as Prudy Grimes’ murder mystery novel unfolds, one of these leaders of industry seems to be hatching nefarious plans in his mansion near Lake Tahoe.
Will Laura Bailey expose his deadly plot and stop it?
Will this be “The End of Snow”?
“The End of Snow: Murder in Squaw Valley: A Laura Bailey Snow Science Mystery” by Prudy Grimes can be purchased on Amazon and in local bookstores. Her stories have appeared in North American Review, Fiction International, Other Voices, and other literary journals. To learn more about the author, visit her website: PrudyGrimes.com. Read her essay, “Owning It,” on EcoTruckee.org.
Ted Lipien is a Truckee-based journalist and writer who launched EcoTruckee.org – Eco Truckee Tahoe as an environmental journalism project.
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