This was a wonderful mystery, with a bit of history thrown in for goodmeasure. If you know nothing about Alaska, it will begin to give you ahint, and, unless you are a top-notch expert, it will likely tell youthings you did not know.
The Iditarod is the dog sled race from Anchorage to Nome every March(unless there's not enough snow, as in 2003, in which case they do thebest they can!). The race celebrates a famous run of diphtheria serumfrom Anchorage to Nome to prevent an epidemic. It is a grueling race, onboth humans and dogs, and would be much worse if the fictional events inthis book ever happened.
In the book, accidents begin to happen to the mushers (that's the humanpart of the dog sled team). First, one falls off his sled and dies, thenone's harness breaks, and so forth. The Alaskan investigators know ithas to be one of the mushers or a conspiracy, as opportunities fornon-mushers to cause this type of havoc are minimal. Since in each case,even if the results were not fatal the mushers would be out of the race,the investigators focus on the mushers. The race is over 1,150 mileslong, most of it in the wilderness that is still Alaska. Stopping therace is unthinkable, but letting it continue may mean more deaths.
Sue Henry does a wonderful job of pullingthe reader in and keeping the attention on not only the race for findingthe murderer, but the race for the finish line. My only complaint wasthat I couldn't keep all the mushers straight, because there were somany. But the "leaders" of both races became clear at the end.
Here's a link to the Iditarod website, if you want more information:http://www.iditarod.com/last_race.html