Kinsey and Me

( 46 )

Overview

In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone. Thirty years later, Kinsey is an established international icon and Sue, a number-one bestselling author. To mark this anniversary year, Sue has given us stories that reveal Kinsey’s origins and Sue’s past.

“I've come to believe that Grafton is not only the most talented woman writing crime fiction today but also that, regardless of gender, her Millhone books are among the five or six best ...

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Kinsey and Me: Stories

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Overview

In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone. Thirty years later, Kinsey is an established international icon and Sue, a number-one bestselling author. To mark this anniversary year, Sue has given us stories that reveal Kinsey’s origins and Sue’s past.

“I've come to believe that Grafton is not only the most talented woman writing crime fiction today but also that, regardless of gender, her Millhone books are among the five or six best series any American has ever written.”—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

Kinsey and Me has two parts: The nine Kinsey stories (1986-93), each a gem of detection; and the And Me stories, written in the decade after Grafton's mother died. Together, they show just how much of Kinsey is a distillation of her creator’s past even as they reveal a child who, free of parental interventions, read everything and roamed everywhere. But the dark side of such freedom was that very parental distance.

The same unique voice and witty insights readers fell in love with in A Is for Alibi permeate the Kinsey stories. Those in the And Me section trace a remarkable voyage, from anger to understanding, from pain to forgiveness. They take us into a troubled family, dysfunctional as most families are, each in their own way, but Grafton’s telling is sensitive, delicate, and ultimately, loving. Enriching the way we see Kinsey and know Sue, these stories are deeply affecting.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Marilyn Stasio
The voice of a young and frisky Kinsey rings out in the nine early stories…that make up the better part of this collection…it's a pleasure just to be in Kinsey's company as she refreshes the formula conventions with her snappy wit and candid opinions.
Publishers Weekly
This short story collection from Grafton (V Is for Vengeance) combines glimpses of her series detective, Kinsey Milhone, with a revealing self-portrait, separating the two with a thoughtful essay on the evolution of the private eye. The volume opens with nine crisply plotted Milhone tales, each with a clever hook: a woman’s book club that does more than read about alibis, a twist on the classic “poison that leaves no trace.” The second, shorter section contains 13 pieces written after the death of the author’s mother. Featuring “a younger version” of Grafton called Kit Blue and a moody, atmospheric style, they searingly evoke the author’s alcoholic parents as she struggles to make peace with her troubled childhood. These provide moving and surprising insights into the woman behind the bestsellers. Though the two sections of the book feel strikingly different, fans will admire Grafton’s impressive output and feisty fictional detective all the more knowing the challenging beginnings from which both grew. Agent: Molly Friedrich, the Friedrich Agency. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
The collected short cases of Kinsey Millhone, plus a substantial bonus that wasn't included when the stories were originally published in a limited edition in 1991. The two qualities that distinguish Grafton (V is for Vengeance, 2011, etc.) from her competitors are amply on display here. Her Santa Teresa shamus is beyond question the most likable of all private eyes, and she never writes the same story twice--except when she recycles an ancient trick for telling the difference between an inveterate liar and his truth-telling brother in "The Lying Game." "Full Circle" is a routine account of how Kinsey tracked down the man who shot the driver who was cutting Kinsey off on the freeway. But "Non Sung Smoke" works surprising variations on its fatal drug scam, and "Long Gone" and "A Little Missionary Work" cap their tales of embezzlement and kidnapping with nifty final twists. "Falling Off the Roof" and "A Poison That Leaves No Trace" work impressively different changes on the clients who suspect their loved ones were murdered. The seriocomic "Between the Sheets" is a fast-paced search for the corpse that vanished from the bed of his lover's daughter. And the best of these tales, "The Parker Shotgun," combines the ingenuity of Agatha Christie and the compassion of Ross MacDonald. The bonus is a cycle of 13 slight but piercingly sensitive vignettes about Kit Blue, an autobiographical figure Grafton used to explore her conflicted feelings about her alcoholic parents in the years before Kinsey came on the scene to tilt her world toward felony and set it reassuringly in order. Though the collection is less revealing about Kinsey than her novels are, it offers a rare sustained glimpse inside Grafton--and a fine way to pass the time until W is for Whatever.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399163838
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/8/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 599,079
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sue Grafton, with four more letters of the alphabet to come, is deep into W is for . . . She lives in Montecito and Louisville.

Biography

Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages -- including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. She's an international bestseller with a readership in the millions. She's a writer who believes in the form that she has chosen to mine: "The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law," she has said, "but people do get their just desserts." And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker and the John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—she has earned new respect for that form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents.

But who is the real Sue Grafton? Many of her readers think she is simply a version of her character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone. Here are Kinsey's own words in the early pages of N Is for Noose:

"So there I was barreling down the highway in search of employment and not at all fussy about what kind of work I'd take. I wanted distraction. I wanted some money, escape, anything to keep my mind off the subject of Robert Deitz. I'm not good at good-byes. I've suffered way too many in my day and I don't like the sensation. On the other hand, I'm not that good at relationships. Get close to someone and the next thing you know, you've given them the power to wound, betray, irritate, abandon you, or bore you senseless. My general policy is to keep my distance, thus avoiding a lot of unruly emotion. In psychiatric circles, there are names for people like me."

Those are sentiments that hit home for Grafton's readers. And she has said that Kinsey is herself, only younger, smarter, and thinner. But are they an apt description of Kinsey's creator? Well, she's been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She has three kids and two grandkids. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone. So: readers and reviewers beware. Never assume the author is the character in the book. Sue, who has a home in Montecito, California ("Santa Theresa") and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised, is only in her imagination Kinsey Millhone -- but what a splendid imagination it is.

Biography from author website

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    1. Hometown:
      Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 24, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Louisville, 1961
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

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(19)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

    I'm very interested in this book. Equally for the Kinsey Milhone

    I'm very interested in this book. Equally for the Kinsey Milhone short stories as for the stories about Sue Gdrafton's life I guess you could say. This looks like it will be a nice addition the Sue Grafton canon. (I do wonder why the Nook version is merely $1 less than the hardcover version...seems almost like the publisher or Barnes & Noble are trying to discourage purchasing digital versions over hardcover versions.) )

    17 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read my first Sue Grafton book over twenty years ago. We had j

    I read my first Sue Grafton book over twenty years ago. We had just moved to a small town and of course one of the first places I visited was the local library. It was housed on the main floor of an old house on Main Street at that time. The collection was small, but the enthusiasm of the librarian evident. I asked her if she could suggest a good read, nothing too heavy as I had a newborn and long reading periods were non-existent and oh, I did like mysteries.....Well, you guessed it - she put A is for Alibi (originally published in 1982) in my hand - and a fan was born. I've read every one since and am looking forward to W is for ?, due out later this year.

    This 'alphabet' series features private eye Kinsey Millhone who lives and works in Santa Teresa, California. The books are set in the 1980's, so our sleuth uses 'old fashioned' methods to solve her cases. I can open the latest book and feel like I'm catching up with a familiar friend. Kinsey is wry and witty. She's a darn good sleuth and a really nice person. Grafton always comes up with a plausible plot that keeps me interested from first page to last.

    Kinsey and Me was originally released in 1992 with a limited run of 326 copies. This newest version is just released.

    The book is divided into two parts - the first half is a collection of Kinsey stories and the smaller second half is a set of stories featuring Kit Blue.

    What made reading these special was the foreword where Grafton explains writer's craft - specifically that of a detective short story. It was really interesting to see the method behind the result.

    "For me, the mystery short story is appealing for two reasons. One, I can utilize ideas that are clever, but too quirky or slight to support the extended trajectory of the novel. And two, I complete a manuscript in two weeks as opposed to the longer gestation and delivery time required of a novel. The short story allows me to shift gears. Like an invitation to go outside and play, the shorter form offers a refreshing change of pace."

    Some of the Kinsey stories I had come across before in various anthologies. But I enjoyed each one thoroughly. They were like a little Kinsey microcosm, offering the reader a glance and a taste of this iconic character.

    But, it was the introductions that really made this book personal. Grafton offers up Kinsey as her alter ego - "The person I might have been had I not married young and had children." We become privy to the similarities between the fictional Kinsey's life and Sue Grafton's.

    The Kit Blue stories were new to me and I think they affected me the most. "If Kinsey Millhone is my alter ego, Kit Blue is simply a younger version of me." Sue Grafton's parents were both alcoholics. The Kit stories were written ten years after the death of Grafton's mother. "...my way of coming to terms with my grief for her." They are raw, powerful and real, filled with overwhelming emotion and honesty. These are the stories that stayed with the longest.

    I really enjoyed Kinsey and Me - an opportunity to visit with a familiar character, but also a chance to learn more about a favourite author.

    "It amuses me that I invented someone who has gone on to support me. It amuses her, I'm sure, that she will live in the world long after I am gone. I trust that you will enjoy her companionship as I have." Indeed we do, Sue, indeed we do.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Luckily or by wise choice the Kinsey stories are first

    The Me stories explain Sue Grafton's childhood, showing what a fine writer she is

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    This was different, but still Grafton excellence--

    By the time I got to page 208 my I-pad would turn off because I was thinking about my life and feelings about my parents, about growing up. The joy mixed wit the pain. You know it is life. It's just the good the bad and the downright ugly---

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    I really liked this book. I enjoyed reading about her background

    I really liked this book. I enjoyed reading about her background and how Kinsey helped her to find a good place in a life that did not start out that
    way
    .
    Definitely a change from the Kinsey series. I enjoyed the short stories and overall found the book to be very interesting.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The short stories are rated 5...typical, delightful Kinsey Milho

    The short stories are rated 5...typical, delightful Kinsey Milhone.
    The stories about herself bring insight in her writing style, who she is, how Kinsey was developed and grew into the beloved character she is.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Nice

    Nice and pleasant to pass a bit of time while waiting for the next novel.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Just ok.

    I never really got into this. And I have every one of her Kinsey books.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Good read!

    Although I prefer her novels, the short stories were great to read.
    Also enjoyed the personal information about her.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    read all her books

    I preorder all her books so I donn't miss any. If you like a series with the same hero this is one auther to read

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    I was hoping for Sue Grafton's "W" book but being that

    I was hoping for Sue Grafton's "W" book but being that I have all her books & some signed I had to get this one too. It's a book of short stories before Kinsey became her main crime solver in the alphabet books. So far she has out smarted me on who done it. Sue Grafton is one of favorites & what a writer.
    But I sure do hope she gets w/her next couple of books I'm not getting any younger & she sure is slowing down in releasing the few she has left. W, X Y & Z.....me & a friend in Calif. are waiting for W & the rest. We faithful readers of her & hope thought this book is good & tell you how Kinsey came about we are still waiting for to complete her series using the alphabet!
    Come on Sue hurry & we can't stand the waiting & waiting for W.
    To sum up my review; if you like Sue Grafton, this is a must for for you collection. It's a darn good book of short stories when she wrote for magazines when she 1st came up Kinsey.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    I was disappointed

    Of course, I love Sue Grafton and have read all of her books so I was looking forward to this one as well. The first part of the book are short mysteries, and they were OK, but the 2nd part of the book was about growing up with alcoholic parents, esp. her mother. It was one after another of depressing stories, and probably made her feel better to write it down, but I don't think we all needed to read all about it. I guess I'm insensitive, but I gave the book away.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    I enjoyed the stories with Kinsey but to me the personal stories

    I enjoyed the stories with Kinsey but to me the personal stories were just retellings of the same situations. There were no new events that she told about in her personal life so once you read one or two the rest were just more of the same. But, I think the book is worth getting for the Kinsey stories alone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    You'll like this book.

    Interesting insights to a talented author.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    I have read all her books. This one did not disappoint. Very e

    I have read all her books. This one did not disappoint. Very enjoyable! Thanks, Sue!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014

    I think I enjoyed this the most, having read all of Grafton's no

    I think I enjoyed this the most, having read all of Grafton's novels--I cried thru the stories written after her mother's death, as I SO recognized the situation and her pain. An excellent accomplishment for Ms. Grafton

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    recommend to all Sue Grafton followers

    the second half of the book about Sue's early life was interesting.
    I am not quite sure how much was semi-fiction and how much was truly non-fiction. Would be very much interested to know what was fact.

    Some of the older short stories were very predictable....but being a Sue Grafton fan I did enjoy the entire book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

    This is her best!

    I have read all her books and this is her best! I read it in two days,I couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    Another winner

    The short stories were typical sue grafton-Kinsey plots and surprised you at the end of each one. The second part about sue griffons non functional home life is sad. It's amazing that she has overcome the tragedies in the first several decades of life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    A MIXTURE OF BIOGRAPHY AND FICTION

    SUE GRAFTON EXPLAINS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MYSTERY AND DETECTIVE STORIES. THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK IS A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES BUT THE SECOND HALF OF THE BOOK IS A LOOK INTO HER EARLY LIFE THAT PROPELLED HER TO WRITE.I ENJOYED THIS DIVERSION FROM HER LARGER NOVELS AND LOOK FORWARD TO MORE OF HER WRITINGS.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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