Cover image for Murder on the Yukon Quest : an Alaska mystery
Murder on the Yukon Quest : an Alaska mystery
Henry, Sue, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Avon, 1999.
Physical Description:
291 pages : map ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
1160 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC High School 8.5 21 Quiz: 17166 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



Jessie and her team of dogs are competing in the toughest dog sled race in the world -- with an unknown killer on their trail. Alone in the vast white wilderness, Jessie learns that a young novice racer she met at the start of the race has been abducted. The girl's father is warned that no one but Jessie Arnold is to be told...or the girl will die. Speeding through the twists and turns of the icy, broken trails, Jessie has no time for fear. For somewhere in that lonely landscape, a killer waits for a chance to unleash his murderous rage on anyone who dares to get in his way.

Author Notes

Sue Henry is a former college administrator. She writes the Jessie Arnold Mystery series and the Maxie and Stretch Mystery series. Murder on the Iditarod Trail won the Mystery Readers International Macavity Award for Best First Novel in 1992 and the Anthony Award. It was made into a TV movie starring Kate Jackson and Corbin Bernsen three years later.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

For mystery fans interested in the Alaskan wilderness, outdoor sports, or dogsled racing, Henry's latest will have lots of appeal. And even for readers who don't much care for dogs or sports, this well-crafted, suspense-filled story is still worth reading. Jessie Arnold has run the world-famous Iditarod dogsled race but is a rookie in the demanding Yukon Quest, which begins in Canada's Yukon Territory and extends over 1,000 dangerous miles to the finish line in Fairbanks. But Jessie has plenty of spirit and a fit, well-trained dog team. All of that hardly prepares her, however, for what happens when one of her fellow racers is kidnapped, and Jessie must deliver the ransom, rescue the victim, and capture the bad guys. The story is slow to get started, with the first 100 pages or so devoted to details about dogsled racing, but when the action kicks in, the story hurtles along agreeably to a surprising ending. Recommend this to fans of Nevada Barr. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Alaska's spectacular, dangerous wilderness forms the background to Henry's engaging, if overplotted, sixth novel (after Deadfall). Professional musher Jessie Arnold is in peril, this time on the Yukon Quest, "the toughest dogsled race in the world," which runs over 1000 miles from Whitehorse, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska. Early in the race, novice musher Debbie Todd is captured and held for $200,000 ransom. The kidnappers demand that Debbie's frantic stepfather give Jessie the money for delivery during the race, warning them both that Debbie will die if they inform the police. But Jessie secretly notifies her good friend, Inspector Charles Delafosse, before she tackles the race's most demanding leg. In a climactic finish, Jessie almost loses her life when she confronts the criminals on American Summit during a blinding blizzard. Throughout this turmoil, Jessie is also trying to sort out her feelings for her lover, State Trooper Alex Jensen, who's at his father's funeral in Idaho. Henry decorates her novel with glorious evocations of Alaska, believable characters, interesting mushing lore and deft explanations of dogsledding mechanics. But the story suffers from a thin plot that leans on obvious clues and unlikely coincidences. Nonetheless, dog lovers will enjoy it, as will those willing to forgive the faults in construction in favor of some beautiful writing. Agent, Dominick Abel. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Jessie Arnold is back racing across the frozen North with her sled dogs, but she's also in a race against time: a young racer has been abducted, the ransom demand is in, and the police are not to be told. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Murder on the Yukon Quest An Alaska Mystery Chapter One "It was clear and cold The aurora borealis painted palpitating color revels on the sky. Rosy waves of cold brilliancyswept across the zenith, while great coruscating bars of greenish white blotted out the stars." --Jack London, " A Daughter of the Aurora" Jessie Arnold haulted her team and stomped in the snow hook to secure the sled, though as far as they had come and this late on a chill mid-January night there was little chance that her dogs would proceed without an encouraging word from their driver. They had traveled almost two hundred miles in two days and nights of regular alternating stages-four hours of travel, four hours of rest-with one longer, six-hour camp and a few short pauses. With an important distance race-the Yukon Quest, from Whitehorse, Yukon, to Fairbanks, Alaska-coming up the next month, she was scheduling her training to adjust both the dogs and herself to the extended rotations of running that would be required. The Yukon Quest was Alaska's second most important distance race and Jessie had decided to try it for the first time, forgoing her usual participation in the Iditarod, for the two were very close together on the calendar and it would have been difficult to run them both. She was looking forward to testing herself on a new race, and the Quest had established a reputation as the toughest sled dog race in the world, because of the extremes in temperature and terrain experienced by its participants. The route would take Jessie and the rest of the racers over more than a thousand miles of the most remote, inhospitable region of North America in the heart of winter, measuring their ability, raw courage, and sheer will with temperatures that often fell between -30° and -50°. Jessie was particularly interested in traveling this race route because the relentless, demanding trail would trace the same trails used during the Alaskan and Yukon gold rushes, which had been natural and vital links for mail and freight mushers between communities during this era. The race would also be a challenge because the participants were only allowed to use one sled for the trip, like the mushers who had traveled the early mail routes and repaired their own sleds, if damaged. The Quest would therefore also test the self-sufficiency of each modem musher, leaving some cursing the unrepairable fragments and splinters of their transportation, often nursing their own injuries. The trail Jessie and her team would run passed through fewer checkpoints than the Iditarod, with greater distances between them, and would include long stretches on the unforgiving Yukon River, the "Highway of the North," its icy surface often repeatedly broken and refrozen into a jumble of ice blocks the size of boxcars as it settled into winter immobility. Three extreme summits higher than any on the Iditarod would have to be crossed, and as she paused with her team on this training run, she was thinking about confronting the physical and mental challenges of this new race. From his place at the front of the team, Tank, her lead dog, looked back as if wondering why they were stopping so close to home, then lay down in the snow. Two of the young dogs in the team remained on their feet for a minute or two, but, like the veterans, soon relaxed in their places, taking advantage of the pause to rest. They're adapting fast, Jessie thought, generally pleased with the response of these twelve huskies to the extended training run they were about to complete. Opening the sled bag, she retrieved a large insulated container of warm water mixed with vitamins, electrolytes, and the food scraps left from a feeding at the last four-hour rest stop. When each dog had been given a metal pan of this tempting liquid, she watched to be sure they were all drinking thirstily, then took a bag of high-energy dog snacks and moved along the line to give some to each, along with a minute or two of individual attention. "Good dog, Bliss. Good girl. Hey, Sunny. You hungry, Wart? Oh ... just want that magic spot behind your ears scratched, yes? Okay. All right, Darryl, I'm coming. How about your other brother, Darryl? Here you go, pups." The two wheel dogs, who ran closest to the sled, were littermates named for the pair of Darryls on the old Bob Newhart television show, and were often referred to simply as One and Two. They looked so much alike it was hard to tell which was which, though Jessie knew that Darryl Two had darker ears and was more inclined to wolf his food. Very much a people dog, he greeted her with an affectionate lick on the hand as she presented his snack. "Kisses for the pack leader? Thanks. Good job today, guys. Good dogs." Replacing the supplies, she pulled the big fur mittens that reached almost to her elbows over a thinner pair of wool gloves that protected her fingers when the mittens weren't on. Nothing was as warm as fur, and they hung -on an idiot string around the neck of her parka, where they would not be accidentally, disastrously lost. With the dark, which came in midafternoon this time of year, the temperature had dropped below zero and was still falling. Jessie was extremely careful to keep her hands warm, exposing them as little as necessary, but much of the work of caring for the dogs and herself could not be done in the clumsy mitts. Wiggling her fingers to encourage circulation, she left the team and turned to look around her. The headlamp she wore revealed a trail well packed by the many mushers in the Knik area who used it for training, all of whom did their part to keep it groomed.Beyond her light the ghostly white trunks of the tall birches that lined the trail faded into the dark on either side, branches bereft of leaves until spring. Murder on the Yukon Quest An Alaska Mystery . Copyright © by Sue Henry. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Murder on the Yukon Quest: An Alaska Mystery by Sue Henry All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.