cover image Death Takes Passage

Death Takes Passage

Sue Henry. Avon Books, $22 (292pp) ISBN 978-0-380-97469-6

Henry's celebration of Alaska, begun in Murder on the Iditarod Trail, continues in the fourth Alex Jensen mystery (after Sleeping Lady). Alaska state trooper Jensen and his girlfriend, Iditarod driver Jessie Arnold, embark on a cruise celebrating the centennial of the Klondike gold rush. The cruise ship carries a million dollars in gold locked away with armed guards. Jensen plans a mere ceremonial role, wearing his dress uniform and showing off his handlebar mustache, but several stateroom thefts and a crew member's disappearance force him to investigate. Meanwhile, two men steal a sailing boat; they dump the body of the owner who had died and head for a rendezvous with the cruise vessel. Then the dead body of the missing crew member is found in the freezing water, and Jensen and Arnold must decide which of their shipboard companions to trust. A wrong move could send all aboard to their deaths in the waters of the Inland Passage. The action occasionally flags, and Henry's dialogue is sometimes wooden, but Alaska's spectacular scenery, intriguing history and a well-engineered showdown should please fans of this series. Author tour. (Aug.)