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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Review: The Refuge

The Refuge: A Maxine and Stretch Mystery by Sue Henry
Review by Beth Slater
NAL Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0451220471

We join Maxie for the 3rd time on an adventure, although we don’t get to spend too much time with her favorite mini-dachshund Stretch. Maxie has flown to Hawaii to help a friend she grew up with, Karen, who’s broken her wrist and ankle, but is trying to move back to Alaska. Although Maxie would like nothing better than to return to Homer, Alaska, and Stretch, she promised Karen she would help pack up and ship her belongings since she was not able to do so alone. However, Karen has become quite secretive since Maxie’s arrival, and Maxie is sure someone tried to break in during the night. When forced to call a plumber for a backed up drain that is no accident, Maxie discovers that someone wants Karen out of that house – and is up to no good to get what they want.

Maxie regrets, almost immediately, her decision to fly to Hawaii, but has decided to make the best of it and get the favor done quickly, but not without enjoying some of the tropical gardens and sights of the islands. She happens upon the plumber’s assistant, Jerry, while at a garden, and hires the runaway 18 year old (originally from Anchorage) to help her pack, in exchange for a flight back to Alaska.

After yet another run-in with Karen, and then her disagreeable landlord, Maxie manages to get Karen out of the picture by shipping her home to Alaska with the promise to take care of everything while Karen recuperates from her injuries back in their hometown. Maxie and Jerry are able to get everything sorted and packed in short order, and are set up for the garage sale when they find the house broken into and their packing job demolished. Unsure of what the burglars wanted, they secure the house after reporting the break-in, and repack everything. After shipping everything off, Maxie and Jerry rent a camper and travel the island, seeing the tropical sights Maxie has chosen to enjoy before heading back to her home of icebergs and pine trees. When Jerry is kidnapped, Maxie decides that she must unearth the clues to the mysterious events surrounding her if she is to save the life of her new friend – and herself.

I unfortunately missed The Tooth of Time, the second in this series of a senior woman and her dog with a serious wanderlust whose home base is Alaska. I plan to remedy that shortly, but I really enjoy Henry’s depictions of the areas around her stories. They encourage me to travel and see many of these sights for myself, and to enjoy what is around me. While there is a lot of action in the story, there is a minimum of violence for those who do not care for it. I recommend this novel for those who like adventure and travel, and especially for those armchair travelers. I also think those who enjoy Henry’s other series featuring musher Jessie Arnold would like the interaction between Henry’s two protagonists – as they become closer friends as the stories progress.


  1. Msmstry said...

    It's always good to catch up on Sue Henry's literary travels. Thanks for letting me know about this one.


  2. Mitz said...

    Great review of a book in one of my favorite series. Both Maxie and Sue Henry are my heroes - Maxie because she travels around the lower 48 in an RV with her dog (i would travel with my cats) and Sue because she writes these wonderful stories.

    I just returned from an Alaskan cruise - partly inspired by Sue Henry's stories - and I can relate to Maxie's desire to return.