Beneath The Ashes by Sue Henry
An Alaska Mystery, No. 7
Avon - June 2001
ISBN 0380798921 -Paperback
Cozy Mystery

Reviewed by Mary Lynn,
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Jessie Arnold, musher and kennel owner, is still smarting from her breakup with her long time live-in boyfriend when Anne, whom, she hasn't heard from in ten years calls and asks if she can come visit her. Although, surprised, she readily agrees. Shortly afterwards, the local bar is burned down with a man inside. Her friend arrives and tells her she's on the run from her abusive husband. Several more buildings are burned down, including Jessie's place--while she's in it.

Anne has changed so much that Jessie soon regrets extending her hospitality. She reluctantly agrees to take time from the training of her race dogs to take Anne back to the area where they both lived years earlier. Her regrets increase when the arson investigator reveals that Anne was implicated in an arson years earlier where two children died. Jessie and the investigator get off to a bad start, and she ends of hitting him. Soon, she's not sure who to trust and decides to handle things on her own.

Maybe I've read too many mysteries because when a protagonist continually acts in a way that is destined to lead her into more trouble than she can handle, I find myself rolling my eyes. I can see no good reason for withholding evidence from the police, especially when an arsonist is on the loose, who is not only burning down one building after another, but murdering people, and framing her for everything in sight. Because of that I found it difficult to bond with Jessie in this adventure.

People who enjoy this series, in part because of the rich detail giving to the training of race dogs and the vivid descriptive attention given to the beautiful Alaskan scenery will probably enjoy this installment more than I did.

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