I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Charlotte
Mystery series, BORROWING
DEATH, in which a young woman
arrives in Alaska and lands a job with the Cordova Daily
Times. This series is set in the Prohibition era, and
Charlotte is supportive of suffragettes. MURDER ON LOCATION
demonstrates that other sections of Cordova's population
are looking for fair representation. The Alaskan Natives
protest their treatment in film, interfering with the plans
of a film crew which has just arrived on the SS Fairbanks.
As this is Charlotte's first Alaskan winter, she's still
getting acclimated. The film crew find a new world and are
clearly just treating it as an exotic backdrop. Native
residents are concerned that scenes will depict them as
brutal criminals. Led by Jonas Smith, they have engaged a
lawyer, Caleb Burrows, and hold protest meetings. Charlotte
covers the story, meeting stars Peter York and Roslyn
Sandford, and director Stanley Welsh. All publicity is good
publicity of course, but Charlotte starts to wonder if
someone has deliberately leaked provocative information.
Social issues feel more personal in a small town, and the
newspaper must tread carefully. Charlotte takes direction
from her editor Andrew Toliver, who wants to be diplomatic,
not sensational. I like this portrayal of the paper's
responsibilities. Charlotte gains added insight from
Rebecca Derenov, her half-white, half Alaskan Native ward.
As the two young women live together they are sufficiently
chaperoned and Charlotte doesn't come under undue pressure
in her romantic life. James Eddington is the local law
officer, and between keeping an eye on the film crew and
escorting Charlotte, he's kept busy.
Descriptions are very realistic, from the clothing worn to
the tang of coal smoke and steam from the railroad. I love
the trip to Childs Glacier to film on location. However,
this is also the venue for a shocking and perhaps
accidental death. Given that feelings have been running
high, and plenty of folks disliked the victim, Charlotte
decides to take nothing for granted.
You may be chilled to the bone when reading MURDER ON
LOCATION by Cathy Pegau, but I guarantee you'll be
entertained. I can't wait for the next in this unusual
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 . . .