Author: Anne White
Publisher: Hilliard and Harris
ISBN: 1-59133-298-2, 978-1-59133-298-5.

The serene backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains’ pristine Lake George seems an unlikely place to find the ugly snarl of infidelity, deception and murder, but mystery writer Anne White offers just that in Cold Winter Nights, the fifth in her Lake George Mystery series. We willingly follow White’s deft transformation of that idyllic northern New York setting into center stage for the killer’s desperate attempt to silence the too-perceptive (and delightful) Emerald Point mayor, Loren Graham.

It all begins at a holiday concert featuring a solo by the teenaged daughter of Graham’s good friend, Kate Donohue. Sheriff’s deputy Jim Thompson pulls the mayor out of the concert to tell her that Denise McNaughton, a respected RN from the area, has been murdered. It doesn’t take long before the small town is abuzz with gossip and theories about who might have killed McNaughton, and why. While Thompson and other law enforcement officials methodically investigate, Graham can’t help evaluating the evidence herself. Was it the Adirondack hermit, who reportedly had broken into cottages near McNaughton’s home? Could it have been Kate’s ex-husband, said to have been “involved” with the murdered nurse?

As the tale progresses, the reader is transported to various sites in the Adirondacks – from the New Year’s Day festive Polar Bear Plunge in the icy waters of Lake George to the snowy slopes of Gore Mountain Ski Resort, as Graham spends time with friends, conducts her official duties and does a bit of sleuthing. Throughout the fast-moving plot we meet more and more characters from the Lake George area – Don Morrison, Loren Graham’s fiancé; Dr. Kennison, the philandering physician; Teddie Murray, the incorrigible gossip; radio announcer Billie Jorgensen; newspaper reporter Stephanie Colvin; and Lucas Prendergast/AKA Luke Prenders, called by many “the Woodsman.”

Anne White weaves these characters and their motives so skillfully into the fabric of the story that we are at a loss to know just where to point the finger of guilt. As the plot reaches its apex, we find ourselves shivering on the shore of Lake George, trying to enjoy a skating party, but feeling the ominous approach of what we know to be the efforts of a killer to silence Loren Graham. The arctic-like waters kept unfrozen by ice-eaters just beyond the skating area threaten death as the killer makes the fatal move.

This reviewer predicts you’ll find a stack of White’s novels as tempting as a high-carb snack; nobody can read just one. I’m already waiting for the next.

Other Lake George Mysteries by Anne White include:

An Affinity for Murder, 2001, Oak Tree Publishing

Beneath the Surface, 2005, Hilliard and Harris

Best Laid Plans, 2006, Hilliard and Harris

Secrets Dark and Deep, 2007, Hilliard and Harris


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