The Serpents Trail Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Serpents Trail

NAL, April 2004, 24.95. 288pp
ISBN: 0451211227

Sixty-three years old Maxie McNabb enjoys hitting the road with her RV accompanied by her mini-dachshund, perhaps the only Alaskan resident not to have a husky. When Maxie learns that her friend Sarah Numamaker is dying, she decides to visit her pal in Grand Junction, Colorado.
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Sarah is elated that Maxie is coming to see her, but not just because she enjoys her company, which she does. Sarah needs Maxie to help her with a problem, but will not explain what it is until her visitor arrives. Maxie finds Sarah's house has been turned upside down and her buddy is in the hospital. Sarah dies, but not from her illness but because someone killed her. As the executor, Maxie must settle Sarah's estate, which she has left to her adopted son and any natural children of her own, of which Maxie did not know any existed. Ed Norris claims that Sarah's adopted son, Alan, is actually his; Alan denies any blood ties while openly acts hostile towards Maxie and Ed. As Maxie tries to learn who killed her friend, she also researches relationships to see whether Ed or Alan is telling the truth even while wondering what Sarah needed for her to do.

Though the story line moves at the pace of driving an RV from Alaska to Colorado, fans will appreciate this entertaining cozy due to the delightful sexagenarian charmer Maxie. She makes for a fine tale with her friendly open approach to people even when she is rebuked by her friend's son. Sue Henry, known for her scenic Alaska mysteries, shows she can entertain readers with a lower Forty-Eight tale.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Serpents Trail

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   80% Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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