From the Publisher
“Nine crisply plotted Millhone tales, each with a clever hook…[and] moving and surprising insights into the woman behind the bestsellers.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] triumph.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Beyond question the most likeable of all private eyes.”—Kirkus Reviews
“It’s a pleasure just to be in Kinsey’s company as she refreshes the formula conventions with her snappy wit and candid opinions.”—The New York Times Book Review
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.
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.)
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.