Murder on the Iditarod Trail
Alaska state trooper Sergeant Alex Jensen is contacted when a musher dies on the second day of the great annual Iditarod sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome. He apparently took a turn too wide, hit a tree, and impaled himself on a protruding branch. It looks like an accident, yet there's something not quite right, either. Then, on the next day another musher is killed in an accident on a treacherous part of the route. Hers wasn't an accident - someone had cut her guide line so the sled lost control. When she crashed, the heavy sled landed on top of her.
Jessie Arnold is one of the Iditarod competitors. She has to finish in the top twenty if she hopes to be able to afford to race again next year. She also has an excellent chance of being one of the first finishers She lives outside a small Alaskan town raising her dogs and training them for this race. A couple accidents are not going to stop her or any of the other best mushers from continuing the race.
When Alex meets Jessie there is an immediate attraction. Both had been loners for many years. Now is not the time or place to start a relationship. Alex knows there is a murderer in the race. The odds are good it is one of the top five or ten hopefuls. He is concerned about Jessie. He wants her to quit. She isn't going to - it's who she is. She does agree to travel in groups with other mushers, at least in the early part of the race.
Jessie continues to race, trying to keep aware of anything unusual without affecting her dogs or her racing. Alex follows the race by helicoper or plane. This is Alaska in early March. It's still cold. The weather is unpredictable. The racers spend a great part of the 1400+ miles out in the middle of nothing but nature. The checkpoints are frequent, the rests mandatory, and in between are long stretches of snow, mountains, rivers, lakes, plains, and trees. The Iditarod is difficult without a murderer. This year, it just happens to be more dangerous.
Murder on the Iditarod Trail is the first novel in the Alaska series by Sue Henry.It is a good detective mystery. The number of suspects is quickly taken down to a handful or so, including Jessie. Alex is certain Jessie isn't the killer, but is glad of corroboration from his fellow officers. The characters and situation are well drawn and believable.
I've heard about the Iditarod for many years. This book shows what is involved and how and why people participate. The strategy needed is amazing to someone with no clue. And the dog sledders reading this are nodding sagely - dog sled racing isn't just hitching a group of dogs to a sled in the snow. The Iditarod is a good backdrop for the book.
Murder on the Iditarod Trail
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