Cover image for Beneath the ashes : an Alaska mystery
Beneath the ashes : an Alaska mystery
Henry, Sue, 1940-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, [2000]

Physical Description:
276 pages ; 22 cm
Geographic Term:
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
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

On Order



"Out of the dark, an alomost invisible shadow slips swiftly through the falling snow to the back door.' A glow in the window flickers and grows stronger...tongues of flame leap and dance ...the blaze speaks in cracks and pops, until its voice gradually becomes a ravenous, insatiable roar..

The arrival of spring's first delicate blossoms promises relief from another cold and harsh winter deep in the heart of Alaskan'widerness.' And with a gang of frisky half-grown Husky pups trailing at her heels, Jessie Arnold looks forward to a new season of grueling, yet exhilarating, training with her dogs on the blankets of snow that linger on into the summer.' But just as the harsh Alaskan wind can unexpectedly sting on even the most beautiful spring day, new horrors bring a chill to Jessie's seemingly peaceful home...

A mysterious fire ravages a popular local pub, leaving an unidentified body lying in the ruins.' As if the destruction of her favorite watering hole isn't bad enough, Jessie's life is interrupted by the anticipated arrival of a friend she hasn't heard from a decade.' Shocked at the sight of a troubled woman, Jessie is stuneed to hear Anne's story of years of abuse at the hands'of her husband.' And when Jessie awakens in the night to discover the cabin she built herself engulfed in flames, and Anne sitting idly outside unwilling to help, Jessie'begins to wonder whether her houseguest is a crazed liar or an arsonist.

But it is?Jessie her

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 1

Booklist Review

It's spring in Alaska, and Jessie Arnold is training a new pack of sled dogs. Then the trouble starts: a fire destroys a local tavern and leaves a dead body; Jessie's old friend Annie Holman turns up with horrible tales of wife abuse; and Jessie's own cabin is burned. In an effort to put her world back in order, Jessie must get to the bottom of the arson outbreak, and to do that, she must determine whether her friend is a victim or a maniacal killer. In this latest Jessie Arnold mystery, Henry again does a masterful job of mixing vivid Alaska landscape with a tantalizing plot, an endearing protagonist, and some of the most lovable dogs in print. The book's jittery, nail-biting pace hooks readers early on, and if the ending itself proves disappointing, all that leads up to it is as entertaining as it is compelling. Not the best in the series but satisfying reading all the same. --John Rowen



Beneath the Ashes An Alaska Mystery Chapter One On an early evening in mid-March, Jessie Arnold was sitting on the floor by her huge sofa, surrounded by a gang of half-grown pups from two different litters that she had brought into the house so they could become accustomed to handling and interaction with a human, as well as to the other dogs. The seven pups tumbled happily on and around her, staging mock battles, chewing each other's tails and ears, crawling onto her lap for rations of the affection she was happy to give them. They were stil cute and babyish at this age, falling over the big feet they were quickly growing into, curious about everything, full of life, and beginning to display individual characteristics that she was assessing closely, looking for traits that would make them good working sled dogs later on. Her racing lead dog, Tank, the long-suffering father of four of them, had been trying to take a nap near the wood-burning stove, but he found it impossible, as some of the pups that couldn't crowd onto Jessie's lap turned their focus on him. Jeep and his smaller sister, Daisy, were being especially attentive to their dad. When they had run around and over him several times, faking attacks to encourage him to join their exuberant games, he finally grew tired of their nonsense and growled a warning in Jeep's direction. Jeep stopped in his tracks and growled back, which amused and interested Jessie. The young dog was showing independence and assertiveness, qualities that could indicate a possible leader in the making for a future racing team. Socialization with humans early in the life of sled dogs was important. It established relationships while the pups were still imprintable and became a positive, normal part of their lives, making training easier and helping them develop skills for working with people and other dogs. She sincerely hoped Jeep had inherited the attitudes and abilities that made Tank the best leader she had ever had. Jessie had been trying to read an article she had found in the latest Mushing Magazine on summer training for sled dogs. She tossed it onto the sofa when the adolescent gang of pups made it impossible to concentrate. Now, over their yips and immature growls, she glanced at the magazine longingly, then suddenly hesitated, looked toward the window across the room, and held her breath for a few seconds to listen intently. It had grown very quiet outside. The faint repetitious murmur of rain that had been a background for the last two days had stopped. Shoving two pups from her lap in order to get up, she walked across to the window that overlooked her dog yard. Snow. It was finally snowing again. Big white feathery flakes were falling thickly through the air, melting as they hit the wet ground. But here and there they were beginning to stick. The roof and hood of Jessie's pickup truck were already turning white. It would be wet, heavy snow, but at least it was not the unseasonable rain that had been turning the trails she used for training to slush. Glancing at the large thermometer mounted outside facing the window, she saw the temperature had dropped from well above freezing to twenty-eight degrees. As she watched, it moved to twenty-seven. Still falling. No wonder the rain had turned to snow, and how welcome. Since it had started this late in the day, she thought it would probably continue into the night, replacing some of the old snow the rain had melted and, possibly, allowing her to take out a team or two tomorrow. Finished with the Yukon Quest, the last race she would run this season, she and Billy Steward, the young musher who helped her at the kennel, had been working hard with mixed teams, one- and two-year-old dogs harnessed together with experienced ones. The days of rain had put a halt to that. Jessie, pleased with the progress they were making, was frustrated at being housebound. Running sled dogs in the rain was a miserable business that she and other mushers avoided when they could. It took all her attention to train inexperienced dogs without adding bad weather to the equation. Untangling the snarls they managed to get themselves into several times a day was work enough. It was fun to play inside with the pups who were not yet close to real training age, but it was more challenging to be out on the trails. Two of the pups had quietly followed her to the window, and she almost tripped over them as she turned back into the room but managed to step wide, missing both. Crossing to the phone on her desk, she dialed Billy's number. The pups trotted along behind her, not giving up their attempt to reclaim her attention, but they were quickly sidetracked by a patchwork pillow that had fallen from the sofa. With a long reach she snatched it away, knowing how soon its feathers would be floating around the room like the snowflakes outside if she left it to their sharp teeth. "Have you looked out?" she asked Billy. "The snow's coming down like crazy. if it keeps up we can run tomorrow. Right -- about seven. Yes. Okay." Dropping the phone back in its cradle, she returned to the window to watch the falling flakes with satisfaction, unwilling to sit back down. She wished she could go out now but knew there wouldn't be enough new snow until morning, and the plastic runners on her sled would grind themselves to tatters on the rocks and bare ground the rain had uncovered. Flopping down on the sofa, she ignored the pups for a minute and picked up the magazine again. When she realized she had reread a page for the third time and had no idea what it contained, she tossed it to the opposite end of the large sofa... Beneath the Ashes 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 Beneath the Ashes 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.