T is for Trespass – Sue Grafton

Kinsey Millhone encounters evil in the shape of Solana Rojas, a nurse hired to care for crochety elderly neighbour Gus. It’s 1987/1988, and Kinsey also meets her first computer enthusiast….

U is for Undertow was published in December 2009…. and although there are only a few more letters of the alphabet left to go, with Sue Grafton’s one novel a year production rate and 1940 birth day, I’m really really hoping she makes it to Z, 2014 … and age 74! Well, Henry Pitts is 80 odd now, so that should be a cinch.

Amazon.co.uk link: T is for Trespass – Sue Grafton

S is for Silence – Sue Grafton

At last – I spotted the latest instalment in Sue Grafton’s alphabetised crime series featuring Californian Private Eye, Kinsey Millhone.

S is for Silence sees Kinsey sleuthing away from her Santa Theresa base, travelling to the small inland town of Serena Station to investigate the whys and wherefors of the disappearance of good time girl, Violet Sulivan, on 4th July 1953….. Did Violet run off to escape her abusive husband or to be with an unknown lover, or was she killed – and if so, why?

Flashbacks to 1953 provide the background on the community’s characters, motives and events, and the focus is much more on the lives and loves of people other than Kinsey. It’s not that I don’t enjoy following Kinsey’s personal story, but it must be difficult for Sue Grafton to come up with fresh plotlines for our feisty heroine.

Now I only need wait another year or so for T is for …..

Amazon.co.uk link: S is for Silence

A is for Alibi – Sue Grafton

I still can’t believe that I managed to get through all of the Kinsey Millhone novels (the ones published so far at least), in order, without having actually read the first in the series!!!

Well, I’ve remedied that glaring omission. Before I started A is for Alibi, I wasn’t sure whether to expect the familiar scene setting and key character sketching that opens most of Sue Grafton’s series or some deeper background detail backing up developments that have emerged over the 19 novels to date.

In fact it was the former, but with some interesting quirks for those readers who are able to look into Kinsey’s future. There is an early and for me unexpected appearance by a strangely unfamiliar Robert Dietz, and the development of other, more fully formed, characters who are destined never to appear again – Arlette the lady motel owner in particular. The same goes for events – unless I’ve forgotten references to Kinsey shooting someone, or of her narrowly escaping being murdered by a recent lover….. and none of these are elements that feature frequently in the series as a whole!

It’s not the best of Sue Grafton’s novels, but it is by no means the worst (or to be more accurate, the one I liked the least). More importantly, it is the first of the alphabet series which makes it the best place to start if you’ve not read any others so far, and one that you’ll need to read if you have.

Buy it: Amazon link

R is for Ricochet – Sue Grafton

At last, Kinsey rediscovers her love life and her libido!! I get the feeling that Sue Grafton had second thoughts about writing off Cheney Philips as a potential lover in her last novel, and managed to finagle him back into batchelorhood, and as prime candidate for Kinsey’s attentions. At the same time, Robert Dietz is written off as an absent object of Kinsey’s affections and the door closed firmly on her affair from the early alphabet novels.

Added to this upturn in Kinsey’s affairs of the heart is the tension between her neighbour Henry and his brothers, clashing over the romantic attentions of a youthful seventy-something they’d met on a recent cruise.

And added to that we have Reba, the ex-con Kinsey agrees to chaperone for the first few days on parole, and who shows up Kinsey as a goody two shoes. A contrast that’s no mean feat given Kinsey’s track record of lock picking and law bending. A cracking story, although the baddies could have been drawn more darkly, and where of where has the long-lost-family subplot gone to?

Buy it: Amazon link

Q is for Quarry – Sue Grafton

I knew it had to happen sometime; I’d find myself reading a Kinsey Millhone mystery that I’d read before…. after all, I didn’t discover Sue Grafton’s heroine with A is for Alibi (which it looks like I’ve managed to overlook!) – I suspect that I thought Q is for Quarry was just an interesting title. So here we are, re-reading a crime story but this time with 16 books-worth of character development and background information, all of which makes certain parts more enjoyable (Henry’s love interest) and other parts more significant (the appearance of Aunt Susanna). I’m not racing through it however….

Buy it: Amazon link