"Murder in the Mountains" A Destination Murders Short Story Collection: Review/Giveaway

Review by Sandra Murhpy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the anthology and a link to purchase it.

Double Bluff by Gretchen Archer

Davis Way Cole is a mother of twins, dogs, and wife of Bradley, the president and CEO of the Bellissimo Casino. She’s also the undercover security operative at the casino, so when she says she’s seen a couple of women hoist a dead body onto a boat and head out into deep water, she knows what she’s talking about.

Her partner, Fantasy, is doubtful. Davis ID’d the women as Boofie and Mary Thatcher, which Fantasy thinks are aliases. Following the clues, as in the advertising on their sweatshirts and casino video, the pair decide to follow to see who was in the body bag. Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

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Five Days to Fitness
by Barb Goffman

Brianna has been told she needs to fit the corporate lawyer image if she wants to make partner. After years of working toward that goal, who would give up now? The Five Days to Fitness program will jump start her weight loss and secure that partnership job for her. The group consists of Maria who sings tunes from The Sound of Music, although saying off-key is being polite, two sisters, a newlywed couple, Paige the instructor, and Trish the do-everything assistant. The location was used for filming Dirty Dancing years before, not that they’ll have time to enjoy it or explore.

Paige relies on brutal honesty and exercise beyond the limits of most of the class. During a hike, one of the members falls off the mountain. Brianna isn’t sure it was an accident. With so many suspects to choose from, finding the possible killer will be as difficult as passing up dessert.

The Sound of Muzak by Karen Cantwell

It’s Girls Weekend in the Berkshire mountains where three neighbors, Roz, Peggy, and Barb, are meeting Peggy’s elderly aunts, Maeve and Mary who have a bit of a surprise in store. It seems they’ve heard about the trio’s exploits during the Florida Girls Weekend, and there was that tricky part about a dead body. “Men,” the aunts said, “don’t live very long once they marry into the Polansky family. There are rules to follow and then an early death.” How hard could it be to find out if the deaths aren’t accidents? Sometimes the clues are in the smallest details.

Be sure to look for the recipe for a Murder in the Mountains killer cocktail.

The Picture of Guilt by Leslie Budewitz

It’s late July in Jewel Bay, Montana, and the tourists are gathering. Their money is good, but they can be so annoying. One of the new faces is Layne, a photographer in town for a magazine photo shoot. After a quick visit to Murphy’s Mercantile for coffee and a few souvenirs, she’s off to capture Jewel Bay digitally.

When she doesn’t come back for her purchases, it’s a cause for concern. It’s not always the local wildlife that’s dangerous.

Read carefully—the subtle clues will sneak up on you.

The Lyin’ Witch in the Wardrobe by Eleanor Cawood Jones

How could anything go wrong at a Wizard of Oz convention? The setting is Smithmore Castle at the top of English Knob Mountain. Bean, the Cowardly Lion, has invited her friends along for a lavish weekend—all in costume. The Ozzies (Land of Oz) are another group at the convention. One of their members is Esmerelda whose ruby slippers are garnished with real rubies.

Everything is going smoothly, except for Martha complaining about being cast as the Wicked Witch, when Lady Blah Blah, a tribute band for Lady Ga Ga, shows up and tries to steal the show—and acquire the ruby slippers.

After that, things go downhill faster than you can say ‘follow the yellow brick road.’ A body in the wardrobe can have that effect.

A Killer Pocono Hike by Tina Kashian

Lucy planned a small wedding. Then her mother got involved. Now, there are over a hundred guests invited. Lucy and friends are at Bear Claw Lodge for a week of hiking, massages, facials, pedicures, s’mores, and cocktails. It’s in the bar that they meet Evelyn, wife of Evan Frith, a soap opera actor. Evelyn is crying into her drink, sure he’s cheating on her. Considering it’s his first gig, it seems a bit over the top for him to travel with an entourage.

Nature is not always as forgiving as a spurned spouse, so when a death occurs during a mountain hike, it’s a toss up whether it’s an accident or a solution to a problem.

Check out the recipe for Shish Kebab at the end of the story.

A Perfect Climb by Shawn Reilly Simmons

Caroline and Ross are three days married, currently on their honeymoon. Caroline is suffering from Instagram withdrawal, sure her fans will think she’s disappeared forever. In Instagram time, seven days may just well be forever.

Seven days of skiing with other guest couples sounds better than it is. Squabbling between husbands and wives can spoil the mood for honeymooners. A death is a real downer. One of the men disappears, the hosts reveal a satellite phone is on hand but a snowstorm prevents the police from coming to help, and it’s a modernized locked room-style Christie weekend, complete with misdirection and red herrings.

The Edelweiss Express by Shari Randall

Aunt Gully won the Austrian Sounds and Mountains basket at the Mystic Bay Women’s Club Basket Bingo, a trip for four to Vienna and Salzburg. Her guests are her friend Aggie, her niece Allie, and her friend, Verity.

Champion skiers own the hotel and the one next to it. The women are lucky, or unlucky, enough to see Gretl Moser, Ani Brandstetter, and Gretl’s coach, Rolfe, although they are not what you could call friendly to the visitors. When a body is found in the hot tub, the blame is squarely on one of the skiers. Allie’s just not sure it’s the right one.

One Flew Over the Cocoa’s Nest by Cathy Wiley

Jackie and her brother Daniel are at the Hubbard Resort and Day Spa where Jackie is due to judge a Cocoa Festival. Considering the weather forecast is 30 to 48 inches of snow and impassible roads for at least two to three days, the chances of the festival happening are dim.

Additional judges are a local businessman, Nygel, and Cara, a Californian chef. Who knows whether or not she’ll make it through the storm?

A dead body adds to the tension since it’s obvious the killer is among the guests or staff. Jackie’s had experience with an unexplained death and solved it, plus Daniel is a cop. Surely, they can figure out who-dun-it before the police arrive. On the other hand, with the number of unfaithful spouses, it may take a while.

The recipe for Hot Cocoa Cookie Sandwiches has five tasty ingredients plus marshmallow crème for filling. There’s also a link to a recipe for risotto.

The stories are set in the four seasons, making this a perfect read any time of the year. The winter stories will make you glad you’re not snowed in with a killer. 

To enter to win a copy of Murder in the Mountains (ebook or print winner's choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "mountains,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 21, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. Be sure to state if you want ebook or print. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. She writes about eco-friendly topics, pets and wildlife for magazines and reviews mysteries and thrillers for KRL. A collection of her short stories, published by Untreed Reads, From Hay to Eternity: Ten Tales of Crime and Deception can be found at all the usual outlets. Each one is a little weird and all have a twist you won't see coming.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Great way to find new authors and get a taste of their writing.

  2. Thanks for the opportunity! tWarner419@aol.com

  3. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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