Henry, Sue 1940-
Henry, Sue 1940-
Born January 19, 1940.
Writer. Formerly an education administrator and grant writer; former instructor at University of Alaska.
"ALASKA" MYSTERY SERIES
Murder on the Iditarod Trail, Atlantic Monthly Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Termination Dust, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.
Sleeping Lady: An Alex Jensen Mystery, Morrow (New York, NY), 1996.
Death Takes Passage: An Alex Jensen Alaska Mystery, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Deadfall: An Alaska Mystery, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery, Avon Twilight (New York, NY), 1999.
Beneath the Ashes: An Alaska Mystery, Morrow (New York, NY), 2000.
Dead North: An Alaska Mystery, Morrow (New York, NY), 2001.
Cold Company: An Alaska Mystery, Avon Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Death Trap: An Alaska Mystery, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Murder at Five Finger Light: A Jessie Arnold Mystery, New American Library (New York, NY), 2005.
Degrees of Separation: A Jessie Arnold Mystery, Obsidian (New York, NY), 2008.
"MAXIE AND STRETCH" MYSTERY SERIES
The Serpents Trail, New American Library (New York, NY), 2004.
The Tooth of Time, New American Library (New York, NY), 2006.
The Refuge, New American Library (New York, NY), 2007.
Murder on the Iditarod Trail was filmed as a CBS television movie in 1995; books have been adapted as audiobooks, including Beneath the Ashes, Books on Tape, 2001, The Serpents Trail, Books on Tape, 2004, and Murder at Five Finger Light, Books on Tape, 2005.
Sue Henry is an Alaskan writer who has created a mystery series set in that state. Her books star Alaskan state trooper Alex Jensen, as well as Alex's girlfriend Jessie Arnold, a "musher" or dogsled racer who regularly competes in the Iditarod and other long- distance dogsled races. Henry was working as an education administrator and grant writer when she submitted the manuscript of her first book, Murder on the Iditarod Trail, to Atlantic Monthly Press. Since then, she has written many more books, all vividly evoking Alaskan places and people.
In Murder on the Iditarod Trail, the top contestants in the 1,000-mile dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome are being killed, one by one. Jessie Arnold, the best woman musher in Alaska, is afraid she might be next, but she is not going to quit pursuing her dream of winning the famous race. State trooper Alex Jensen is on the trail of the killer, and must follow him into the same territory Jessie knows so well—the vast, trackless, and dangerous Alaskan wilderness. Publishers Weekly contributor Sybil Steinberg called the book "an enthralling debut." Writing in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Charles Champlin noted: "The race lore is engrossing and the you-are-there credibility of the story would have you believe that Henry has mushed along herself." In the New York Times Book Review, Marilyn Stasio praised Henry's vivid characterization and her depictions of Alaska's natural beauty in "smooth, uncluttered prose."
In Termination Dust, vacationer Jim Hampton is arrested for the murder of an ex-senator, but Alex Jensen does not think he did it. Hampton found an old prospector's diary from the 1800s, and the two murders are startlingly similar. Combing the journal for clues, Jensen begins to track down the true killer. Death Takes Passage: An Alex Jensen Alaska Mystery is set during a cruise through Alaska's Inside Passage that is scheduled to commemorate the centennial of the Alaskan Gold Rush; as part of the festivities, the cruise ship will transport a ton of gold. Alex Jensen must figure out who is stealing gold from passengers and causing increasingly dangerous trouble on board, from robbery to murder. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Henry "keeps the intrigue swirling and the tension mounting."
Deadfall: An Alaska Mystery stars musher Jessie Arnold, who is being stalked by a mysterious enemy. The harasser injures one of her dogs, leaves threatening messages, and makes frightening telephone calls. Urged by Alex Jensen to go into hiding, she sets off hiking on a remote island, but as a fierce storm breaks, she finds she is not the only person on the island after all; the stalker has followed her, and she is now involved in a dangerous game of hide and seek.
Jessie returns again in Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery, competing in the race by that name—a thousand-mile trek in Alaska from Whitehorse to Fairbanks. During the race, a competitor is kidnapped and held for ransom, and the kidnappers claim that only Jessie can deliver the money. The pickup point is during the most dangerous segment of the race, and when a wicked storm blows in, the stakes rise higher as Jessie attempts to save the other racer, herself, and her dogs. In Dead North: An Alaska Mystery, Jessie's cabin is destroyed by an arsonist. In the aftermath of the blaze, she agrees to drive a friend's RV to Idaho. Her scenic getaway is complicated by murder in a story with plenty of "twists and turns" as well as good scenic details and historical notes, commented Sybil Downing in the Denver Post. Downing rated Dead North "a thoroughly good read."
In Cold Company: An Alaska Mystery, Jessie discovers a dead body in the newly dug basement for her new cabin. She guesses it may be the property's original owner buried in an unmarked grave that was uncovered by the construction crew. Soon, however, she is on another case as a dead woman's sister shows up looking for help in finding a serial killer. "Henry delivers the usual suspense and an unusually high body count," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, writing on the TeenReads.com Web site, commented: "If you enjoy a mystery story full of red herrings, stalwart characters, an exotic Alaskan setting coupled with enough twists and turns to titillate the most ardent armchair sleuth, Cold Company by Sue Henry is just the ticket."
Death Trap: An Alaska Mystery finds Jessie living in her new cabin and the story being told in flashbacks by Jessie and her friends as they sit around her living room. The tale involves an axe murder at the Alaska State Fair and the disappearance of Jessie's dog Tank. "Readers may be charmed by the reassuring narrative frame," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Sue O'Brien, writing in Booklist, commented: "Well-drawn characters … charm the reader."
Jessie and friends are on Five Finger Light Island to help work on an old lighthouse in Murder at Five Finger Light: A Jessie Arnold Mystery. When someone is murdered and another woman disappears, Jessie and the others find themselves in a dangerous situation cut off from the outside world. The story is told alternately by Jessie and a stalker who had been hunting one of the women on the island. Sue O'Brien, writing in Booklist, noted that the duel narrators "keep motives hidden and readers guessing." In a review on Best Reviews.com Web site, Harriet Klausner wrote: "The scenery as usual is breathtaking, but it is the cat and mouse game between the culprit and the detective that will have the audience spellbound."
Henry departs from her homeland of Alaska to begin her "Maxie and Stretch" mystery series. In the first book in the series, The Serpents Trail, Henry reintroduces Maxie McNabb, who first appeared in Dead North. Maxie is an elderly RV owner who travels with her dachshund, Stretch. The two find themselves in Grand Junction, Colorado, to visit an old friend of Maxie's named Sarah, who says she has a problem. However, before Sarah can explain in person, her house is ransacked and Sarah dies the next morning in the hospital from what appears to be murder. Sarah has, however, had time to tell Maxie that there is a secret message hidden in the house. Maxie's search for the message and a clue to Sarah's death is complicated by the fact that she has been named executor and must deal with an unlikable adopted son and a birth daughter whom no one knew existed. Writing in Motorhome, Maxye Henry noted: "Liberally sprinkled with Maxie's down-to-earth observations about RVing, life and the characters she meets, The Serpents Trail is an entertaining, well-plotted ‘cozy’ mystery." A Publishers Weekly contributor referred to the mystery as a "gentle whodunit."
Maxie and Stretch return in The Tooth of Time and are in Taos, New Mexico, when she makes friends with a woman who might have once attempted suicide and then who suddenly disappears. Threatened, Maxie leaves Taos only to return and face down a killer. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the mystery an "agreeable second outing" featuring Maxie and Stretch. Writing on the Best Reviews.com Web site, Harriet Klausner commented that "fans will want to hitch a ride with Maxie and Stretch."
In The Refuge, another installment in Henry's "Maxie and Stretch" series, Maxie McNabb returns to her home in Alaska following a long trip, only to find herself setting out once more. Her friend Karen Bailey, who lives in Hawaii, is getting ready to move back to Alaska herself, and needs some assistance in packing up her life to make the trip in the wake of an accident in which she tripped over some of her packing materials and ended up on crutches. Maxie is happy to help, but soon discovers that Karen leaves her the less palatable jobs, such as speaking with the mean landlord and dealing with the mess when the bathroom is flooded. The bathroom mishap, however, ends up providing them with some much-needed help, as the plumber's assistant, Jerry, is a rather able young man, and when he quits his present job Maxie asks him to come work for her, helping with all of Karen's packing needs. Maxie ends up traveling around with Jerry in a rented RV, and the two find themselves in sudden danger. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that even with "a touch of cuteness, Maxie is good company, and she teams with Jerry to entertaining effect." Booklist contributor Barbara Bibel wrote that "Maxie is an engaging sleuth who proves that seniors make excellent detectives."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Alaska, February, 1993, Bill Hunt, review of Murder on the Iditarod Trail, p. 74.
Anchorage Daily News, November 7, 1999, Rachel D'Oro, interview with Sue Henry, p. E12; July 30, 2000, Susan Morgan, review of Beneath the Ashes: An Alaska Mystery, p. D7.
Booklist, September 1, 1996, Emily Melton, review of Sleeping Lady: An Alex Jensen Mystery, p. 67; July, 1997, John Rowen, review of Death Takes Passage: An Alex Jensen Alaska Mystery, p. 131; June 1, 1998, John Rowen, review of Deadfall: An Alaska Mystery, p. 1732; June 1, 1999, Emily Melton, review of Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery, p. 1800; May 1, 2000, John Rowen, review of Beneath the Ashes, p. 1618; May 1, 2001, John Rowen, review of Dead North: An Alaska Mystery, p. 1634; May 1, 2003, Sue O'Brien, review of Death Trap: An Alaska Mystery, p. 1545; February 15, 2004, John Rowen, review of The Serpents Trail, p. 1042; March 15, 2005, Sue O'Brien, review of Murder at Five Finger Light: A Jessie Arnold Mystery, p. 1270; April 1, 2006, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Tooth of Time, p. 24; March 1, 2007, Barbara Bibel, review of The Refuge, p. 67.
Denver Post, August 12, 2001, Sybil Downing, review of Dead North, p. I2.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 1991, review of Murder on the Iditarod Trail, p. 287; April 1, 1995, review of Termination Dust, p. 427; August 1, 1996, review of Sleeping Lady, p. 1106; July 15, 1997, review of Death Takes Passage, p. 1067; July 15, 1998, review of Deadfall, p. 1000; June 15, 1999, review of Murder on the Yukon Quest, p. 921; May 1, 2002, review of Cold Company: An Alaska Mystery, p. 618; May 1, 2003, review of Death Trap, p. 645; December 15, 2003, review of The Serpents Trail, p. 1426; February 15, 2005, review of Murder at Five Finger Light, p. 201; March 15, 2006, review of The Tooth of Time, p. 264.
Library Journal, May 1, 1995, review of Termination Dust, p. 136; July, 1997, Rex E. Klett, review of Death Takes Passage, p. 131; June 1, 2001, Rex Klett, review of Dead North, p. 224; June 1, 2002, Rex E. Klett, review of Cold Company, p. 201; February 1, 2004, Rex Klett, review of The Serpents Trail, p. 128.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 21, 1991, Charles Champlin, review of Murder on the Iditarod Trail, p. 7.
Motorhome, September, 2004, Maxye Henry, review of The Serpents Trail, p. 107.
News & Record, August 29, 1997, David Germain, review of Death Takes Passage, p. D4.
New York Times Book Review, April 7, 1991, Marilyn Stasio, review of Murder on the Iditarod Trail, p. 33.
Post and Courier, September 16, 2001, Janice Shumake, review of Dead North, p. 3.
Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1991, Sybil Steinberg, review of Murder on the Iditarod Trail, p. 54; March 20, 1995, review of Termination Dust, p. 46; July 22, 1996, review of Sleeping Lady, p. 229; June 16, 1997, review of Death Takes Passage, p. 49; June 29, 1998, review of Deadfall, p. 39; June 7, 1999, review of Murder on the Yukon Quest, p. 77; June 12, 2000, review of Beneath the Ashes, p. 57; June 11, 2001, review of Dead North, p. 64; May 27, 2002, review of Cold Company, p. 40; April 28, 2003, review of Death Trap, p. 51; March 8, 2004, review of The Serpents Trail, p. 53; February 13, 2006, review of The Tooth of Time, p. 65; February 26, 2007, review of The Refuge, p. 64.
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (October 23, 2006), Harriet Klausner, reviews of The Tooth of Time, Murder at Five Finger Light, The Serpents Trail, and Cold Company.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 23, 2006), Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, review of Cold Company.
Mystery Authors Online,http://www.mysteryauthorsonline.com/ (October 23, 2006), biographical information on author.
Mystery Net,http://www.mysterynet.com/ (October 23, 2006), brief profile of author.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (October 23, 2006), Jennifer Monahan Winberry, reviews of Beneath the Ashes and The Serpent's Trail.
Roadtrip America,http://www.roadtripamerica.com/ (October 23, 2006), Jaimie Hall, "Writing on the Road: Novelist Sue Henry."
TeenReads.com,http://www.teenreads.com/ (October 23, 2006), Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum, review of Cold Company.