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The Serpents Trail (Maxie and Stretch, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx; Reissue edition (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451411781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451411785
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Devotees of Henry's Alaska mysteries will be delighted to see 63-year-old Maxine "Maxie" McNabb, the Winnebago-driving, free-spirited widow introduced in Dead North (2001), starring in this gentle whodunit, the first of a new series. Summoned from Alaska to Grand Junction, Colo., to the bedside of her ailing old friend Sarah Nunamaker, Maxie and her adorable mini-dachshund Stretch wheel in just in the nick of timeâ€"or do they? Sarah's final words to Maxie seem urgent, but leave her little to go on in order to investigate the wrongs to which Sarah mysteriously alludes. Much to the dismay of Alan, Sarah's adopted son, Maxie discovers she's been appointed Sarah's executor. She must also contend with a break-in at Sarah's home and her late friend's penchant for secret hiding places and secrets in general. Then Ed Norris, a college mate of Maxie and Sarah, drops a real bombshell when he reveals the identities of Alan's biological parents. A box of photos, an address on a card and a surprising stranger later leadâ€"or misleadâ€"Maxie and Stretch to Salt Lake City, where Maxie faces even greater dangers. Cozy crime fans of a certain age will love to live vicariously through Maxie and Stretch in what promises to be a long and popular run of adventures.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Retiree Maxie McNabb, a spry 63 years old, gets a call for help from her old friend Grace and immediately sets off in her Winnebago on the lengthy jaunt from Alaska to Grand Junction, Colorado. When Maxie arrives, Grace is hospitalized, muttering deliriously about secrets--and then she dies abruptly. This mystery starts a new series by Henry, author of the popular Jessie Arnold novels. She appears to have another winner on her hands. The strong older characters are well developed and will appeal to fans of Mrs. Pollifax and Peter Abresch's Jim Dandy mysteries. The story builds suspense effectively, and the descriptions of the West, particularly the national parks, will draw the Nevada Barr crowd. There's even an appealing dog, a dachshund named Stretch, to attract canine mystery readers. Only a less-than-convincing ending keeps this one from straight As, but it's still a fine series debut. John Rowen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 35 customer reviews
What a great character Maxie is.
P. Sherman
I listened to all 3 because they were not totally boring and moved along a good pace.
I liked this was like reading a travel log.
Joanne Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Beverley Strong on June 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When Maxie McNabb and her trusty canine companion, Stretch, take to the road in her Winnebago, en route to Colorado to visit her seriously ill friend, she doesn't think for one minute that she is embarking on a life and death excursion. Her dearest friend and old college mate Sarah, is dying and wishes to see Maxie once again to give her some final instructions as her executor. Maxie arrives just too late however, to find that Sarah has been murdered in the local hospital without making it clear why she so urgently wanted to speak to Maxie. Sarah's house has been torn apart by someone searching for documentation and Maxie is confronted rudely by Alan, Sarah's adopted son, who is bitter and resentful that his mother would choose to have an old friend as executor, rather than him. While driving through the mountains with Ed, another old college friend of Maxie and Sarah, they are almost run off the road by someone intent on doing them harm, and later, Maxie is threatened by an intruder who leaves frightening notes, threatening her life. It's very refreshing to have as the heroine of this book, a feisty 60 something widow who doesn't hesitate to bring out the shotgun in her defence and who proves that not all senior citizens are either senile or too timid to live alone, travel and lead interesting lives. I look forward to further adventures with Maxie and Stretch.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Judith Lindenau on March 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Sue Henry's since "Murder on the Iditarod Trail" and I've read each book she's published since that first one. Each one is good: well-written, with a sturdy plot and craftsman-like prose. "Serpents Trail" meets my expectations of an enjoyable and interesting mystery experience. And, I really enjoyed Maxie....she is a new kind of heroine: older, practical, fiercely independent, and with an understanding of human behavior which comes with insight and experience. There's nothing unbelievable in this tale: it's the story of how we were growing up in the '50's...innocent, conventional, afraid of social censure. And the results of that environment lead to pain, deep secrets, obsession, and murder. And yes, the ending surprised me until I thought, as Maxie does in the final pages of the book, "Of course, that's the way it had to have been. Funny I didn't see the clues." Like Maxie, I remember those early years, the treacherous innocence, and the painful effect they so often had on us survivors. This book is indeed a well-written story, with a thoughtful and sad conclusion.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jaimie Hall on August 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
We first heard of writer Sue Henry when we stopped at Dawson Peaks Resort near Teslin in the Yukon on an RV trip from Anchorage to Seattle. The resort was the setting for the final scenes in Dead North, one of Henry's Alaska mysteries. That novel introduced the character Maxie McNabb, traveling in her RV up the Alaska Highway with her mini-dachshund, Stretch.

Readers wanted Maxie to have her own book; The Serpents Trail is the result. Maxie, who travels most of the time in her Minnie Winnie Winnebago motorhome, is a character RVers, as well as readers with a sense of adventure, can relate to. She is a 63 year old widow, smart but cautious. She loves the freedom of RV travel. She isn't a professional sleuth but has common sense, a deep sense of integrity, and encounters situations that need to be solved.

As the story opens, Maxie and Stretch are scooting south in her RV from Alaska to fulfill a promise to a longtime friend, terminally ill with a heart condition. Sarah has something important to tell her. Arriving in Colorado Junction, Colorado, Maxie finds Sarah in intensive care. All she can tell Maxie is, "He's not right...." Sarah dies before explaining.

It is then up to Maxie, executrix of Sarah's estate, to find the special instructions Sarah has hidden for Maxie in her Victorian house. Someone else has a key and is also searching.

As Maxie unravels the puzzle, she finds she doesn't know her dear friend as well as she thought. And someone does not want her finding the instructions, leaving threats and attempting to run her off the road in nearby Colorado National Monument. As Maxie follows the clues to Salt Lake City and back, we get caught up in this tale of intrigue and also get a glimpse into the life of a solo woman RVer.

Let's hope this is the first of many in a series. Traveling in an RV will be provide multiple settings for a series of books about Maxie. I wonder where Maxie and Stretch's next adventure will be!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Maxye Henry on December 13, 2005
Format: Audio Cassette
The Serpents Trail is the first in a new mystery series by Alaska author Sue Henry, starring retiree and avid RVer Maxie McNabb - an independent widow whose adventures in her Minnie Winnie motorhome are destined for murderous twists and turns.

Maxie and her mini-dachshund, Stretch, were introduced in Dead North (2002), the 8th book in Henry's established 10-book series starring Alaskan musher Jessie Arnold. In this first book of her own spinoff series, 63-year-old Maxie is cruising down the Alaska Highway in a brand-new Winnebago. She's always been a gypsy at heart - and with her dog at her side in their cozy home on wheels and the open road ahead, she's never been happier.

Maxie's traveling from her home base in Homer, Alaska, to visit her onetime college roommate who is terminally ill in Grand Junction, Colorado. But she finds the house ransacked and Sarah delirious and near death in the hospital. Sarah insists she has left a secret message in the house for Maxie to find.

When Sarah dies, Maxie learns that she is her friend's executor. Not only must she find Sarah's secret, but she also needs to cope with Sarah's surly adopted son; an illegitimate daughter that she never knew existed; a mutual friend from college who has always loved Sarah; and the discovery that Sarah did not die of natural causes.

Liberally sprinkled with Maxie's down-to-earth observations about RVing, life and the characters she meets, The Serpent's Trail is an entertaining, well-plotted "cozy" mystery. Also evident are the author's trademarks - detailed descriptions of natural landscapes and careful research.
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