Friday, February 02, 2007

Sue Grafton x 3.. no, 4 really

The library have had a little drive and bought a lot of English paperbacks, so they've stocked up on crime fic too, it seems. After all, those are the books you don't want in hardback. You want easy to carry, stick in your bag, fits in your pocket, read on the bus paperback for crime fic, right? Anyway, for some reason they only had the later parts of Grafton's alphabet series. I asked once, and the librarian thought it was superodd, but no, no branch had the earliest ones. She was a little surprised herself. However, now they're filling in the gaps - lucky me! I am very fond of Kinsey Millhone, and I do think that the very earliest books show Kinsey from her best side. As with all series the charm and inventiveness wears thinner towards the end. It's very sad.

I found E is for Evidence, H is for Homicide (well, duh) and J is for Judgment. And today I found A is for Alibi, so I was very pleased! I noticed a fun little detail in A - at one point Kinsey talks about how disconcerting the climate of Southern California is, with the constant sunshine and so on: you don't get a good grip on what season it is. That's hardly the talk of someone born and bred in a place is it? That's Ms Grafton from Kentucky talking - I'm only saying. Roots will out, won't they?

A is the one about the woman who just got out of jail, where she served eight years for the murder of her husband. She claims innocence, and wants Kinsey to clear her name now that she isn't locked up any more. I haven't finished it yet, but am more than half-way through and can note that she has so far only mentioned her lovely landlord Henry, but we haven't actually met him. Also, I'd like to say that this book must've been a breath of fresh air when it first came out! It really is a nice spin on the PI genre.

E is about Kinsey getting framed. She is investigating a warehouse fire, when evidence is found that she's on the take and California Fidelity doesn't want her working for them any more. She also gets blown up (and later her apartment gets blown up too). The description of the explosion is nicely done.

In H she gets inadvertently sucked into the LA gang scene. On behalf of California Fidelity she's investigating a woman who seems to be trying to commit insurance fraud. Turns out the woman has a gang history, even though she now is seeing a former school pal and cop colleague of Kinsey's. Kinsey agrees to do some undercover work to help out the police, and finds herself trapped with LA gang psychos. Not bad, and I like how Grafton shows compassion even for our villain.

Finally J. After/during H Kinsey's association with CF is over, but they pull her in again to investigate claims that a suicide who may have come back to life in Mexico. This one felt a little more skittish, and there is a twist at the end which I feel might have been made more prominent throughout the book, to keep us the readers guessing a little more.

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