Breathless by Amy McCulloch
This debut thriller is like an Agatha Christie mystery set on Manaslu, which at 8163 meters is the 8th highest mountain on Earth, and the 4th most dangerous. Journalist Cecily Wong, a relatively inexperienced climber, is invited to witness Charles McVeigh climb his 14th and final 8000+ meter peak with no supplemental oxygen or fixed ropes. But Cecily only gets the story after she summits Manaslu with the aid of Galden Sherpa. Never having gone above 6000 meters, Cecily is anxious about climbing Manaslu, and thinks there’s a killer on the mountain, though no one seems to take her concerns seriously. At least there are two other women climbing Manaslu, and Cecily, who’s Chinese Canadian and had a Buddhist grandmother, bonds well with the Sherpas. The author really knows her subject and setting, having climbed Manaslu in 2019, becoming the youngest Canadian woman to summit at the age of 32. I thought this was a good thriller that could have been better, but it really kept my interest and I’m looking forward to McCulloch’s next novel, to be set in Antarctica.