Ashland, Or.  March 20, 2005

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CU2: Mystery Writer April Henry Has a License to Entertain


April HenryCelebrate April Henry’s birthday and her visit to the Valley with cake at the April meeting of the Ashland Mystery Readers Group, 7p, April 14th at the Ashland Public Library. 


It’s no mystery why Rogue Valley readers love April Henry. After all, she was born and raised right here and its fun to find mention of the Medford Mail Tribune and White City in mysteries published by Harper Collins.  And Henry’s books are intelligent and fun to read.  Her literate plots, intelligent use of language and next-door neighbor characters create cozy mysteries that engage and entertain. Take, for example, her series featuring accidental sleuth Claire Montrose. 


Henry’s first book, Circles of Confusion, introduces Claire who works at the Oregon State Department of Motor Vehicles. Her job there is to approve or reject vanity license plates. The mystery is punctuated with license plate puzzles such as AMYSTRE and NJYNLF. The absurd office bureaucracy and a ridiculous family background are contrasted with Claire’s growing world experience – experiences and situations that we can all relate to in some fashion.  Later books in the series show Claire’s continued development as a person and as a sleuth.


With four mysteries in the Claire Montrose series, Henry turned her talents to a new character, Free Meeker, the daughter of aging Oregon hippies in the thriller Learning to Fly, published by St. Martins Press in 2003. 


One of the nicest things about discovering April Henry is her website.  Here you’ll learn about the real April Henry – her daytime job in public relations at Kaiser Permanente’s Portland office, her acceptance of success and failure in her multiple roles of mother, worker, writer, family member and her favorite recipes.  Perhaps most unusual is Henry’s gift of an online writing workshop, where she shares tips and techniques for emerging authors. You’ll also book club discussion guides for some of her books.  Not to be missed is a vanity license plate gallery and a dictionary of heteronyms. Don’t know what a heteronym is? Visit, and enjoy.


The Ashland Mystery Readers Group meets monthly on second Thursdays, usually at the Ashland Public Library, hosting mystery writers and readers.  The series is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library and Bloomsbury Books.  There is no charge to attend the lectures.


The Ashland Mystery Readers Group also produces the cable access television show Ashland Mystery, rvtv noir, hosted by Maryann Mason who interviews the visiting mystery writers. STAY2ND for Ashland Mystery, rvtv noir which airs Wednesdays at 7:30 pm on cable 15 in Southern Oregon. For more information contact Maureen Flanagan at 541-552-0743 or visit the group’s website

Video of April Henry Reading from Shock Point on Ashland Mystery rvtv noir



Thanks to April Henry's Circles of Confusion for the license plate puzzles used on this page