Death From the Snows

by Brigitte Aubert

I find it interesting when an author chooses to insert themselves
into their novels. There are not many who do this. Clive Cussler
springs immediately to mind as one who does it often, and well, but
it's somewhat surprising that it doesn't happen more. Cussler's
insertions often amount to little more than a walk-on, though they
are not gratuitous --- Cussler functions in his novels as a minor
deus ex machina, assisting the protagonist with information
or equipment that is necessary for resolution of the plot but would
not have been otherwise available had not Cussler happened to be

An example of an author who also does this, but to more catalytic
effect, is Brigitte Aubert in DEATH FROM THE SNOWS, the sequel to
DEATH FROM THE WOODS. Both novels concern Elise Andrioli, who is
blind, unable to speak and wheelchair-bound. The surgery that took
place at the conclusion of DEATH FROM THE WOODS was basically
unsuccessful, though it did leave her with the complete use of her
left upper limb, so that she is able to communicate by writing and
by raising her arm. Aubert appears in DEATH FROM THE SNOWS at the
beginning and end of the novel; she is introduced as a writer who
wrote a book concerning Andrioli's resolution of the child murders
chronicled in DEATH FROM THE WOODS.

DEATH FROM THE SNOWS begins with a phone call from Aubert ---
identified here as "B___ A___" --- who announces that she is faxing
Andrioli a somewhat cryptic letter that she has received. The
transmission of the letter comes on the eve of Andrioli and her
aide Yvette taking a holiday in Castaig, a ski resort where
Andrioli's uncle Fernand has a chalet. Andrioli soon finds herself
involved in the murders of two young women in the area and
terrorized by the murderer, a seemingly invisible wraith who can
come and go at will without being seen. The introduction of the
murderer is done to subtle and grisly effect, an effect that
continues throughout the book.

Andrioli, hounded by the murderer, seeks sanctuary in a local
extended care facility that is run by a friend and neighbor of her
uncle. The murderer, however, seemingly omnipresent, has followed
her there as well. Andrioli slowly comes to the conclusion that
there is a significant link between herself and the two murdered
women. What the link is, and who the murderer is, is a complete
surprise, yet perfectly logical. Andrioli's powers of deduction are
somewhat downplayed here, and she is more of an observer --- an
interesting role for an individual who is blind --- than a resolver
of mysteries. No matter; DEATH FROM THE SNOWS contains surprise
upon surprise, leaving the reader totally unprepared for what will
happen from one page to the next. Again, and it cannot be stressed
too heavily, this is not a novel for the faint of heart, or
sensitive of stomach. Notwithstanding the French pedigree of the
novel, DEATH FROM THE SNOWS is not a drawing room whodunit. It will
be interesting to see what the future holds not only for Andrioli,
but also for Aubert.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 21, 2011

Death From the Snows
by Brigitte Aubert

  • Publication Date: October 25, 2001
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Welcome Rain Publishers
  • ISBN-10: 1566491770
  • ISBN-13: 9781566491778