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Cold A Long Time: An Alpine Mystery

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6th March 2012, 04:07 PM



I am not sure that this book belongs under "Sport," but I couldn't figure out a better place and the book contains several references to Touching The Void, so I thought I might as well put it here.


This book tells the story of a young Canadian man, Duncan MacPherson, who disappears in Europe in August 1989 and his parents, Bob and Lynda who spend years and years and years trying to figure out what happened to him. Their last-ditch effort is to contact this writer and ask him to investigate, which he does and appears to do successfully. Sadly, what the family learns is so appalling, that they have a new round of horrible things to cope with.


The reason I read this book in the first place is that I am friends with a friend of the writer's mother. He is from Texas, but has lived in Vienna for quite awhile (his other book was about a serial killer from Vienna, Jack Unterweger). But I am pleased to say that he writes very well. It's a complicated story and he tells it clearly, so clearly that I figured out what had happened almost as soon as the most important clues were revealed. He also comes up with a good explanation for why the various people in the story acted as they did and I think he's probably right.



It looks like Duncan MacPherson fell and was injured on the Stubai Glacier near Innsbruck and then was run over by one of the snow tillers, which mangled his leg and arm very badly (severed the hand from the wrist and severed the left leg in 2 places). The driver probably panicked and either alone or with an accomplice, untangled Duncan from the tiller, dumped him in a shallow crevasse, and covered him with snow. It seems more likely than not that he was still alive at that point, although probably just barely. The only reason his body was ever found was that the summer of 2003 (14 years after Duncan disappeared) was so warm that all the snow melted off to the point that the body was uncovered. From the beginning every single person they worked with in the area lied to the MacPhersons or hid information from them. It seems clear that they were all tied financially, emotionally, and professionally to the only employer in the area--the ski resort operator--and either consciously or unconsciously acted to protect that employer at the expense of these poor grieving parents. It was really a very sad read and left you very disgusted with the cowardice of all the people the MacPhersons thought were helping them.


I don't know how easy it is to get your hands on this book, but if you do, it's a good read.

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I would just add that this book is now available in both paperbook and for Kindle... and I've added to by "hmm that looks interesting" pile...

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