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Murder on the Iditarod Trail (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #1)
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Murder on the Iditarod Trail

(Jessie Arnold & Alex Jensen #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,525 ratings  ·  216 reviews
The winner of Alaska's world-famous Iditarod -- a grueling, eleven-hundred-mile dog sled race across a frigid Arctic wilderness---takes home a $250,000 purse.

But this year, the prize is survival.

Only the toughest and the most able come to compete in this annual torturous test of endurance, skill, and courage. Now, suddenly and inexplicably, the top Iditarod contestants are
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 7th 2000 by Avon Books (first published 1991)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  3,525 ratings  ·  216 reviews

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Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
“I did, I did, I did the Iditarod Trail!” Sue Henry’s Murder on the Iditarod Trail, which was first published in 1991, is labeled as a cozy mystery, but to me it was much more intense than a cozy. Spread out over twelve days and one thousand miles, the famous Alaskan dog sled race provides an exciting backdrop for murder. When a musher is found dead on the trail, it appears to be an accident, but things begin to look more suspicious when more contestants die. In this ultra-competitive event, ...more
Jan 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I felt like I was on the Iditrod Trail along with Jess. This was a great read and I was intrigued with everything on the trail. ( google was in over time ) The touch of murder just added to it and you have to love the dogs and the damn hard slog it takes out of all the Mushers and everyone around them.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really, really wanted to like this book. I have read other books in the series but had to wait for this to come out in Kindle form just yesterday. I just finished it and am sitting here scratching my head. I know that others loved this book, and I wonder if they read it when it first came out and it may have been more germane at the time? I did learn a LOT - somewhat more than I wanted to know about the Iditarod Race.

Unfortunately, this left little time to really search for clues as to who had
Jan 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't think this writer could decide if she was writing a mystery or a documentary on the Iditarod. Short paragraphs about the characters alternated with sections that read like the narrative of a PBS special. I could almost hear the voice of Morgan Freeman reading the script. And for Pete's sake, pick a tense already! Back and forth, back and forth between past and present, often in the same paragraph...I was, and am, and shall be, rather seasick.
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book
I really wanted to give this book 3.5 stars, but had to go with 3. It was good, but as others have mentioned, I had a lot of trouble keeping the characters straight. So many characters are introduced in a short space of time without really defining characteristics for all of them. Plus, the author will refer to characters by first name at times and by last name at other times, increasing the confusion. Yet, despite the large number of characters, the number of suspects quickly narrows down and ...more
Apr 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
In Murder on the Iditarod Trail, the vicious weather of an Alaskan winter is not only the setting but also one the the main antagonists. The plot and characterization are competent, but what makes this a terrific, timeless book is the way the reader gets to go along vicariously on the grueling, two-week race.

With her expertise on the Alaskan wilderness in general and dog-sledding in particular, Sue Henry provides her readers with the gift of insight into a real world completely different from
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The description give to details made me feel like I was there. Thank goodness I wasn't. The suspense and excitement kept me on the edge of my seat. This was murder, mystery, adventure, and romance all rolled not one. The last twenty two miles of the race seemed the longest part of the story. Set back read and enjoy.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I had to read this book for my job, and it wasn't the most entertaining thing to read. I've never read crime/mystery before this, so I disn't know if all books in this genre have major events (like many people dying) within the first 40 pages, and then the rest of the book is pretty slow and cheesy as the characters talk about who the murder could be. Most of the dialogue felt fake/forced, and a lot of times it didn't even move the story along whatsoever. There were so many characters and they ...more
Donna Davis
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A lot of so-called "Cozy" mysteries leave me cold, not cozy. I can't stand really implausible scenarios or cutesy gimmicks. Sue Henry's books, however, are interesting and literate, but the pulse is not so heart-pounding and frantic that it keeps me from falling asleep at night.

This one's setting is self-evident, and the climax will keep you on the edge of your seat (or bed), though. Once you're about 60 percent finished, don't pick it up again till you're ready to finish it!
David Ellis
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
If the villain hadn't wasted so many hours sabotaging the other racers he would have easily won the race by a long shot instead of being minutes behind the leader. It reminds me of Dr. Evil who has a legitimate businesses making billions but he just needs to be... well... evil.

Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A good murder mystery with lots of suspense and adventure. You get to learn about dog racing and Alaskan wilderness too. Yet another US State Challenge book for me.
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
The setting is brilliant and that really makes this story. The mystery isn't as strong as the setting.
Laura Belgrave
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense
First, wear a sweater while you’re reading this book, and keep it on. I don’t care where you live, you’ll feel cold deep in the heart of Alaska while author Sue Henry freezes your ass off while you journey with her on the annual, highly competitive 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail. You will feel like you’re one of the mushers with a team of dogs racing across some of the most brutal places where the temperatures seem always to be below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, we’ve probably all at least heard of
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read. The story keeps you guessing until the end. I really enjoyed this book.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly this book went and how hard it was to put it down each time I had to. It was first and foremost a story, but it imparted a lot of information about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and Alaska in general, that I sort of knew in a vague way. The landscape itself was a character in the book, and far from being tiresome in its descriptions of the race, the mushers, the equipment and the racing strategy, the minute details actually made the story all the more ...more
Clare O'Beara
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dogs, america-crime

This is a cracking good idea for a murder mystery - it is set amid the long, tough Alaskan race contested each year by champion mushers. There is enough information about dog sledding to satisfy anyone and great care is taken of the dogs themselves. They wear boots to protect their feet, and are vetted and removed if too tired. The mushers have to carry guns in case of enraged wildlife and as these are tough, determined people, tempers can run hot. One after the other three mushers are killed in
Heather L
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, 2011
Note: My paperback version, published by Avon Twilight in 1993, actually only has 246 pages. This version is not listed at GR.

I wasn't sure I was going to like this one, especially based on comments from other members of the Cozy Mysteries group, but I did. I could not go to bed Friday night until I had finished--sprinting to the end almost as fast as the mushers the end of the race. I was sure of who the murderer was before I was halfway through the book, though a few well-placed red herrings
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves mysteries, dogs, or the wilderness
Fully deserved the Anthony and MaCavity awards for Best First Mystery that it won in 1991. It has stayed in my memory as an awesome recreation of a deadly challenge and the mushers' responses. After watching the show on this year's heroic Iditarod race, I had to reread the book again.

See this description of the volunteers who open the trail:
"The snow machine drivers, dressed in layers of outerwear to repel the worst the Arctic can deliver, may cover the full thousand miles without a good night's
Pamela Mclaren
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
This is the first book that I have read by Sue Henry and I have to say, I never would have thought of anyone coming up with a mystery happening on the Iditarod Trail. It was pretty good.

The book begins with the race and quickly some of the racers are either killed or injured. State Trooper Alex Jensen is sent out to find out what is happening but what he didn't expect is the attraction that he had for Jessie Arnold, a female musher who despite the incidents, continues her efforts on the race.
Cyn Cooley
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it
As this was a debut novel, I cut it a bit of slack, there were some plot holes and the writing was occasionally inconsistent, that said, it was still pretty interesting! I knew nothing, or at least very little about the Iditarod other than it happens and where it starts and ends. I had no real idea of what an undertaking it is beyond the "whoa, that's crazy" reaction to the distance and the weather faced. The race itself really becomes a character and it is truly fascinating.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it
The first of this series and set on the famous dogsled race. All the details make you feel as if you were at least watching a real race.
Love it, still. One of my favorite series ever.
I read this for a challenge only. It is definitely not my type of book. But the writing was good so 2 stars for the writing.
Bedrooped Bookworms
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Jessie Arnold is one of the competitors in the famous Iditarod race, and when mushers start dying, detective Alex Jensen shows up to solve the case. He finds many interesting tidbits - including an interest in Jessie - but no obvious culprit, so he hops from stop to stop in the race to continue searching for clues.

My mom and I both read a lot of cozy mysteries. We buy them for each other for birthday/Christmas presents, and we also just buy them and pass them back and forth. My mom found this
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love mysteries in which the location becomes a character. That is true here, but even more so, the Iditarod becomes a character. And what a character! (Not that the human characters are lacking, by any means. But the race. Wow!)

There is sufficient murder and mayhem, some of it quite gruesome, but that's sort of the nature of the beast in this case. There is sexism--surprisingly enough, a number of the racers think women just don't belong in the race, especially if they are racing well. (That
Michelle Adamo #emptynestreader
I was introduced to the Alaska Mystery books (otherwise known as the Alex Jensen and Jessie Arnold books) while on vacation in Alaska. This fun and exciting mystery series by Sue Henry dates back to 1991 and takes place in some of Alaska’s most rugged terrain. There are 12 books in the series, I have read the first 7. Henry definitely does her homework, having lived in Alaska for dozens of years she is very familiar with the weather, the challenging terrain and the beautiful scenery and she ...more
Jinianne Gorg
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I really really want to move to Alaska! Good read. Looking forward to reading more. A couple issues for me: using a character’s first name sometimes and last name sometimes. Consistently using one or the other is more effective as I had to kept going back and forth until I figured our their names.

Also, Alex turned into a panic-driven person at the end. Although adrenaline can fuel that, I don’t think that was good for his character development. Some might say that makes him more “human,”
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 stars, however, because of the unnecessary romance, but that's just a personal preference. I really enjoyed thinking about who the murderer was, and at some points, I was tempted to look at the end just to figure out who it was because it was so compelling. The fact that the author even makes readers question if one of the main characters (Jesse) did it was great because the mystery in the entire book was amazing. The entries of each chapter were very nice ...more
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this mystery in advance of a trip to Alaska. It was an excellent choice. The action keeps you on the edge of your seat as you follow the great Iditarod race from Day One to its final rush to the finish line. When I began reading this, I knew nothing about the race or the sport of dogsled racing. I sure feel that I have a better idea of what is involved now. The story was well-developed and the characters were intriguing. Coincidentally, my state of Texas was going through a ...more
Max Mercer
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you like thrilling and suspenseful books you will love Murder on the iditarod trail by Sue Henry. During the famous Iditarod race mushers start mysteriously dying. Sgt Alex Jensen was sent to investigate the deaths. After three of the mushers have died he suspected all of the other mushers. But he soon realises that whoever is killing all of the mushers isn't a musher who just wants the prize money. Soon snowstorms stop his search which leaves the mushers defenseless.I like how suspenseful ...more
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Sue Henry is the author of six novels in her award-winning Alaska mystery series: Murder on the Iditarod Trail, Termination Dust, Sleeping Lady, Death Takes Passage, Deadfall, and Murder on the Yukon Quest. She has lived in Alaska for almost aquarter of a century, and brings history, Alaskan lore, and the majestic beauty of the vast landscape to her mysteries. Based in Anchorage, where she teaches ...more

Other books in the series

Jessie Arnold & Alex Jensen (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Termination Dust (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #2)
  • Sleeping Lady (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #3)
  • Death Takes Passage (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #4)
  • Deadfall (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #5)
  • Murder on the Yukon Quest (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #6)
  • Beneath the Ashes (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #7)
  • Dead North (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #8)
  • Cold Company (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #9)
  • Death Trap (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #10)
  • Murder at Five Finger Light (Alex Jensen / Jessie Arnold, #11)
“turn, it slid solidly into the tree, mashing a stanchion” 0 likes
“and gotten them back on the trail. They would continue to dry out on the run. He had also replaced his heavy insulated mittens. They were a soggy mess, frozen stiff, and would have to” 0 likes
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