Sue Henry, R.I.P.

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Because it’s been eleven years since Sue Henry’s last mystery was published, many readers may not recognize her name. However, in 1992, she won the Anthony and Macavity Awards for her first mystery, Murder on the Iditarod Trail.

Sue Henry died on November 20. As a tribute, I’d like to share her obituary from the Anchorage Daily News. It’s perfect for a mystery writer. May she rest in peace.

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M. Sue Henry—————— § —————— – Obituary

M. Sue Henry

Jan 19, 1940 -Nov 20, 2020

Murder mystery author M. Sue Henry, age 80, died in Anchorage, Alaska, on Nov. 20, 2020. Books were her life.

She was born Mathilda Sue Hall, in Salmon, Idaho, on Jan. 19, 1940. She was the daughter of Lois H. Hall and Charles A. “Jack” Hall and sister to Tom and John Hall. The family moved to Wenatchee, Wash., in 1948, where she attended grade school and high school, graduating from Eastmont High School in 1958. She proceeded to the University of Washington, where she earned her degree in English in 1962. She served two years in the Peace Corps in Thailand, which she would reminisce about all of her days and where she met her lifelong friend Toby Fogg, nee Talbot.

Returning to begin graduate studies in library science at the University of Washington, she met Paul K. Henry, whom she married in 1965. They had two boys: Bruce and Eric. Moving to Pasadena, Calif., in 1972, she worked at the Huntington Library. Divorced in 1974, she moved the boys to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1975.

In Fairbanks, her burgeoning love for the Alaska frontier and her passion for books collided. She drove the bookmobile for the Fairbanks Public Library over roads that only someone from Fairbanks during the pipeline construction could appreciate. Later moving to Juneau, she worked in the State Department of Education in Adult Education and dreamt of writing novels. She moved to Anchorage in 1984, and was the director of the Adult Learning Center at the University of Alaska. It was during this time that she wrote her first of 17 novels, Murder on the Iditarod Trail, which won the Macavity and Anthony Awards in 1992 and was adapted for TV as The Cold Heart of a Killer. She traveled extensively researching her novels and came to know and love the remotest corners of Alaska. She gave back to the writing community by teaching workshops all over the country.

No funeral or memorial is planned. However, you could sit down with a murder mystery or other book of your choice and read. She’d like that. Make donations to the Peace Corps in memory of Sue Henry at http://www.peacecorps.gov/give.