Termination Dust is the second book in Sue Henry’s series on Jessie Arnold, set in Alaska. This book is set in the Yukon. Ok, so this isn’t Alaska. When the book opens, Jim Hampton is kayaking in the Yukon River. En route, he discovers a body and a few artifacts dating back to the 1890s. Among these items is the diary of a gold miner heading for the Klondike gold rush and a few nuggets of gold. Part of this book is uncovering the events of the miner and what became of his gold.
Next, Jim is attacked by two men in a zodiac, an inflatable motorized boat, who destroy his kayak and steal his gear. Jim makes camp, but when he wakes, there are two policemen, a dead body, and most of his gear is back. All the evidence points to Jim as the murderer, but he has no motive.
Termination dust is an Alaskan term for the first light dusting of snow on the mountains. This is taken as a sign of the big snows to come. Both stories see this moment come and pass.
I enjoyed the story a lot, but felt it could have been more. I kept expecting more from the historical story. It was pretty obvious who dunnit, especially that Jim hadn’t. And the evidence seemed to hinge a lot on a simple error by the guilty. But it is still a very enjoyable read.
As a bonus, the last chapter of the book is the full diary of the gold miner, Addison Harley Riser. It is an enjoyable tale in its own right.