COLD COMPANY, by Sue Henry

9/series. I usually find that a Michener-style opening is, more often than not, boring. Twenty or more pages just to set the scene? Yikes! Not so with Henry’s first chapter, a perfect word portrait of Alaska’s wilderness near Wasilla (this series pre-dates you-know-who). As a scene-setter, it’s outstanding. Alaskans love the outdoors in every season, and famed “musher” (dog team racer, which turns out is a year-round occupation) Jessie Arnold is enjoying the brief, beautiful summer when a skeleton is unearthed while digging the foundation for her new cabin. Other, newer, bodies begin to turn up, as do single red roses delivered to her Winnebago. This is book nine in a series, but it’s what I first scooped off the stacks, and now I’ve got to go back and read all of them. Great fun, good plotting, lovely evocations of Alaska; perfect beach read. It’s a 4.