Catherine Cooper: The Chalet

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Chalet. I’m sharing an extract from the book with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to the publisher for providing the extract.


French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.

And somebody will pay.

An exciting new debut for anyone who loves Ruth Ware, Lucy Foley, and C.L. Taylor.


December 1998, La Madière, France

I hate these kind of people. They come out here on holiday once a year with their brand shiny new Salomon this and K2 that and think they know it all. They’re so annoying. They know nothing compared to me.

‘So we want some virgin tracks today. Back country. Somewhere no one else goes. Somewhere a bit chal­lenging. Know what I mean?’ says one, his accent plummy and entitled.

Yes, I know what you mean. You think you’re it, just because you went on a few trips with your posh school and now your smart City job or whatever pays enough for you to come out skiing once or twice a year. Well, let me tell you, you’re not. That’s why you have to pay someone like me who actually knows what they’re doing to come with you as soon as you venture off-piste. For all your flash gear and trying to use the right lingo, you know nothing about the mountains. Nothing.

But of course I don’t say that. These are my clients, after all. Instead I say: ‘Yup, no problem. I know exactly the place.’

I smile, rictus-like, and answer their pointless, predict­able questions as we take the various lifts up to the very top. Yes, it’s fun living in a ski resort. Yes, I live here all year round. I lie about how long I’ve been here – I always do – that’s none of their business. No, I don’t have any plans to go back to the UK, etc., etc., etc. I love the mountains. They are my home. And my job would be almost perfect – if only I didn’t have to deal with clients.

It must be around a Force 8 wind as we get out at the top. The less confident of the two – I can’t be both­ered to learn their names – pulls a face as the wind slams into us. ‘Bloody hell, it’s freezing!’ he yelps. The other one, maybe a few years older, but it’s difficult to tell the way they are so swaddled up in scarves, claps him on the back and booms, ‘Don’t be such a girl! This is what it’s all about!’

I snap my goggles on, pull my hat down over my ears and click my boots into my skis. My two clients are still faffing around with their gloves. Hurry up! I scream inwardly. I’m freezing.

‘Hey,’ shouts someone in a logoed jacket, one of the annoying tour reps who seem to change pretty much every year, schussing to a stop next to me. ‘You taking these guys down the couloir?’

‘That’s the plan,’ I reply, not that it’s any of his business.

He pulls a face. ‘I hope they know what they’re doing.’ And I hope you know what you’re doing, is what he actually means.

I roll my eyes – he can’t tell as I am wearing my goggles. ‘I wouldn’t be taking them if I didn’t think they were up to it,’ I snap. ‘I’ve done the risk assessment and they’ve signed all the correct forms.’

‘Hmm. Well, they’re my clients too and it’s a lot of paperwork and hassle for me if there’s an accident,’ he warns. Like I care about his paperwork.

‘Guys!’ the rep, I think he’s called Richard, calls to his clients, who are finally putting on their skis, thank Christ. ‘You be careful down there, OK?’

‘Right-ho!’ the older one yells. ‘We ready for the off?’

Just then, my business partner Andy turns up. Not for the first time, I wish I’d set up Skitastic on my own.

‘Why are you here?’ I ask. Checking up on me, no doubt.

‘My clients have decided to call it a day. Too cold, for them, apparently. Shall I come along with you?’

I’d much rather go on my own – I don’t want Andy babysitting me and picking holes in the way I do things – but even I know I can’t say that and still look like a reasonable person. So I shrug and say: ‘If you like. Makes no difference to me.’

And off we go.


The Chalet is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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