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DEADFALL
An Alaskan Mystery
By Sue Henry

Avon Books, 1999 $6.50 ISBN 0-380-97661-7

Reviewed by S. E. Warwick

Sue Henry is a joy to read. Her sentences are dense with meaning, her paragraphs filled with information, but written with such grace that the words effortlessly slip off the page into your mind.

Her images are crystal clear, and offtimes, tinged with a subtle humor. In Deadfall, Henry even paints a charming picture when describing furniture: "... two overstuffed easy chairs squatted like blowzy housewives in print dresses, ready for a good gossip." (p7)

The main characters are Jesse Arnold, an Iditarod musher and her boyfriend, Alex Jensen, an Alaska State Trooper. Though their locale and occupations are somewhat spectacular and exotic, Jesse and Alex do the laundry, cook supper, and fight about silly things just like everybody else in the world.

Henry’s plots cover the usual territory: greed, lust, envy, revenge, but scatter facts about Alaska and red herrings along the way. Her stories are plausible and she doesn’t leave plot lines dangling in the wind when the book is over.

Though their time and occupations are very different, the more I read about Jesse and Alex, the more they remind me of Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey. The last few pages of Deadfall update some of the speeches in Gaudy Night.

Deadfall is the fifth in the series and they’re all worth reading. If you like good plotting, interesting characters, spectacular locales, and a bit of fast action, try Sue Henry, you’ll like her!


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