Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Engadine Aerie by Bluette Matthey

Last week I interviewed Bluette Matthey, author of Hardy Durkin Travel Mysteries series and as promised, she's back to celebrate the release of her latest book, Engadine Aerie and to talk about The Engadine Skimarathon and her Life as an Author.

Hardy Durkin is at it again in Engadine Aerie, the new novel in the travel mystery series by Bluette Matthey. Trained in Sigint, a crack marksman, and fluent in four languages, Hardy is no stranger to daring rescues and narrow brushes with death. From dungeons in the Black Forest to sailing expeditions, Hardy’s experience and training have helped prepare him for his most dangerous adventure yet.

Durkin is headed to the pristine Engadine Valley in Switzerland with the Skimarathon in mind. He is detoured by a gruesome body found in the snow and an exotic beauty. While assisting TIGRIS in the hunt for a terrorist arms buyer he narrowly escapes two attempts on his life and meets a new and very deadly nemesis.

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The book can also be ordered from most bookstores around the United States and United Kingdom.

The Engadine Skimarathon:

The Engadine Skimarathon, which is the setting for Engadine Aerie, is one of the annual cross-country ski events held each year in the Alps on the second Sunday of March. Forty-two kilometers long, the race course follows Switzerland’s Engadine Valley.

The Engadine Valley, in the southeastern Swiss canton of Graubünden, or Grisons, follows the Inn River from where it starts as glacial meltwater near the Maloja Pass and runs through the high Alps for one hundred kilometers, passing through numerous Alpine villages.

The race course crosses over several frozen lakes and skis through a handful of Swiss villages, among them glitzy St. Moritz, with a descent into the village of Pontresina that invariably entails lots of falls and crashes by participating skiers, to the entertainment of the race’s spectators. This section of the race passes through what is called ‘Mattress Valley’ because of the orange mattresses which are tied around the trees along the ski trail to soften inevitable collisions with said trees.

Anywhere from eleven to thirteen thousand skiers show up for the race, usually arriving several days before the event. The population of the small villages in the Engadine swells, and the buoyant attitude of the guests and their hosts gives the valley a festive air. It’s a great time to be in the Engadine.

The Author:

Bluette Matthey is a third‐generation Swiss American and an avid lover of European cultures. She has decades of travel and writing experience. She is a keen reader of mysteries, especially those that immerse the reader in the history, inhabitants, culture, and cuisine of new places. Her passion for travel, except airports (where she always carries mystery novels to pass the time), is shared by her husband, who owned a tour outfitter business in Europe. Bluette lives in Le Locle, Switzerland with her husband and band of loving cats. Her books include: Abruzzo Intrigue, Black Forest Reckoning, Corsican Justice, and Dalmatian Traffick.

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My Life as an Author:

I’ve been hooked on mysteries since third grade, and travelling about as long. My dad was forever getting us up at two or three in the morning to start off on a trip to Florida, or Canada, or to head out West. So, I decided to merge my two passions and began writing the Hardy Durkin Travel Mystery series with Hardy Durkin as my hunky protagonist.

Instead of the London-Paris-Rome circuit (all fantastic places), I chose to use less-known locales as settings for my mysteries. My books are heavily researched for authenticity, which includes a boots-on-the-ground approach, so I get to enjoy visiting and exploring all the places I write about. I’ve had some amazing experiences, eaten wonderful regional foods, met lovely people, and taken some pretty interesting treks.

Hardy Durkin owns an outfitter business that specializes in European treks, so I’ve made a point of duplicating many of his easier hikes (I’m not as fit as he is). I hiked into the Hermitage of San Bartolomeo near Roccamorice, Abruzzo, Italy, aware I was the only human around for miles as I trekked through the Majella National Park. Animal scat along the trail reminded me there were bears, wolves, and other beasts present. I also climbed to the top of Rocca Calascio, built in the 10th century by the Romans as a watch tower and the highest fortress in the Apennines. This was for my second book, Abruzzo Intrigue.

Dalmatian Traffick took me to the Balkans, where I visited Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania. I didn’t hike to the Ostrog Monastery, but took my life, literally, in my hands and drove there. Mostly one-lane, snaking up the mountain of Ostroška Greda with the mountain wall on one side and a drop-off that increased at an alarming rate on the other, and no guard rails, anywhere. Perhaps a row of rather insignificant rocks placed beside the road, or an occasional tree, but nothing substantial to keep you from plummeting over the edge into eternity. The guide books tell you to hire a taxi, but driving in Montenegro is almost a blood sport and I opted to control my own fate, so I drove slowly and steadfastly, praying that no cars would come from the other direction.

Exploring the traboules of Old Lyon, France was part of stepping back in time with the Knights Templar in Engadine Aerie. I also was a guest at the annual Engadine Skimarathon, which features prominently in Engadine Aerie. Dangerous conditions last year prevented me from hiking in to the Morteratsch Glacier; I hoping this year I’ll be able to explore the eternal ice of the glacier when I return to snowy St. Moritz, Switzerland, and the Skimarathon for a book promotion.

Sigh! Someone’s got to do it…

Previous Books in the Series:

Corsican Justice

Abruzzo Intrigue

Black Forest Reckoning

Dalmatian Traffick

Also available from Virtualbookworm.

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