January 25, 2008 Features & Images » Feature Story

Murder in the Great Big Playground 

A tale of real estate, murder, politics, and really great powder: Chapter One

click to enlarge 1503novel.jpg

Page 2 of 4

“I’ve been thinking about your idea, Patti — I’m not sure that fondue boats are the best dinner concept for a fundraiser for the sewerage station…”

As The Girls were working out how to sell naming rights to the Waste Water Treatment Plant without agitating the local chapter of Whistler Water Watch, Hiroshi Steinberger was dropping his helicopter into a hover over the upper Joffre Lake. A vivid splash of red on the stark white snow had stopped him in his tracks. And though the film production house who’d hired him to scout for locations for the grizzly bear chase scene in their Lost in Alaska movie were expecting his call pronto, the volunteer SAR in him overrode commercial considerations. He dropped his altitude. He could make out the shape of a human being. He brought the machine into land.

As he stood over the body of a man who appeared to be in his mid-30s, Hiroshi gasped. It wasn’t the amount of blood on the snow the pilot found shocking, it was the fact that someone had stuffed purple potatoes into the dead man’s mouth, contorting his face so grotesquely that Hiroshi could barely recognize him.

But when he saw the pearl-covered iPhone, he knew. He’d flown the dude up and down the valley months before, while Chuck “Mess-up” Jessup snapped photos of the lay of the land on his iPhone, made phone calls to his “business partners” and scribbled notes to himself.

Hiroshi, like most of Pemberton’s post-1990 population, was a Whistler real estate refugee. But flying enough missions with the local search and rescue chapter had caught him up to speed on the local lore, and he knew snippets of the Jessup family history — enough to know that it had rained snails when the family’s slow-talking patriarch, Spuds Jessup, died. And enough to know old Spuds would be a-rolling in his grave if he could see his fast-talking grandson mentally dividing up the fifth generation family land, able to sniff out a few investment dollars as easily as a lounge lizard could find a girl with low self-esteem during last call at Buffalo Bill’s.

Readers also liked…

  • Death in the Alpine

    Social media is changing our relationship to risk, with deadly consequences
    • Jun 10, 2018
  • In the home of the bear

    In Alaska's McNeil River Sanctuary, bears and humans have learned to share the landscape
    • May 27, 2018

Latest in Feature Story

  • Deadly decisions

    Critics say the BC Conservation officer Service is overly reliant on lethal force—it maintains they are only seeing a 'snapshot' of what they do
    • Oct 11, 2019
  • Whatcha Smokin'?

    Canadians face lifetime bans to U.S. over past cannabis use, CBD oils and social media posts
    • Oct 4, 2019
  • Paradise found

    Searching for the families that quietly waited out doomsday deep in the Cayoosh Range mountains
    • Sep 28, 2019
  • More »

More by Cindy Filipenko

© 1994-2019 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation