#BookReview: Murder on Location by Cathy Pegau

Historical Mystery

Charlotte Brody #3

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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 glamor, 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...

I gushed over Cathy Pegau’s Murder on the Last Frontier in 2015. The fresh plot, unique setting, and strong characters came together in the best possible way and left me eager for the second installment. Book two, Borrowing Death, came out in 2016 and while I enjoyed the mystery well-enough, I had difficulty appreciating what Pegau was trying to do with the series as a whole. I was hesitant about book three, but nostalgia for the original story won out which is how I found myself with ARC of Murder on Location.

Unfortunately, my experience with book three is very likely my last with the Charlotte Brody mysteries. I mean no offense to Pegau or the readers who enjoyed the book, but the magic I felt with book one is well and truly gone. The glitz and glamour of the latest installment failed to enchant my imagination or enchant my interest. The whole thing actually struck me as rather hokey and I was disappointed that I was able to correctly peg the perpetrator before Stanley Welsh breathed his last. The romance between Charlotte and James has grown stale in my eyes and while I liked learning more about Charlotte’s background, I can’t say the details made my effort to read the novel worthwhile.

I seem to be the exception as most readers found the narrative charming, but when push comes to shove I consider Murder on Location a light read and that’s just not where I am as a reader. I need something with more meat and depth to it and at this point feel I’d do better to satisfy those desires elsewhere.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: January 26, 2017

There was no absolute proof of foul play, and to insinuate as much would do two things she knew James would want to avoid: upsetting folks further and letting the possible murderer know he was on to him or her. She especially didn’t want to cause Cicely any more anguish. Having her father die was bad enough, but suggesting his death was intentional would be a whole new horror.