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Kinsey and Me

Kinsey and Me

4.0 52
by Sue Grafton, Judy Kaye (Read by)

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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


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 feisty voice and witty apercus 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
The larger “Kinsey” part of this collection consists of nine stories that feature Grafton’s durable private detective Kinsey Millhone doing what she does best: solving crimes and delighting readers, albeit in an abbreviated format that relies more on quick twists of plot than depth of character. Judy Kaye, who has been narrating the series from the start, does her usual, spot-on job of capturing the sharply observant sleuth in all her moods—from snarky and suspicious to wistful. It’s the “Me” section of the collection that presents a surprise: 13 linked semi-autobiographical stories, written after the death of Grafton’s mother that follow the life of a woman named Kit Blue, from her youth as the resentful, guilt-ridden child of alcoholic parents to her late 20s, when she receives a letter from her father that helps her make peace with the past. Kaye’s rendition of these stories is flawless. Her Kit even sounds like a young Kinsey Millhone, sharing the same suspicious outlook, the same reaction to disappointment and—on rare occasions—to happiness. A Marian Wood Book/Putnam hardcover. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for KINSEY AND ME
“Brutally honest, emotionally powerful, ‘Kinsey and Me’ is a revelatory triumph, a dance often macabre, but also a dance of celebration choreographed by a writer whose contemplations on justice never fail to offer rich rewards for legions of readers.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“[An] alternately hilarious and pitch-dark new collection . . . The Millhone pieces are sparkling little gems in which the more leisurely pace of the novels is compressed into a mere 20 pages or so; that Kinsey manages to introduce herself, establish the mystery and then solve it, credibly, in such a small span of time and space is nothing short of miraculous. The odd thing is that we don't feel slighted by the relative brevity of plot or even characterization; Grafton is a master of the quick, economical bit of detail, the phrase that tells (or, better, implies) everything. . . The Kit Blue stories are the book's dark heart, its bitter aftertaste, and may come as a grim surprise to many of the author's fans, whose impression of her is of a cheerful, indomitable woman more like the wisecracking Kinsey than the haunted Kit. Of course she is both, and she shares them with us here, bravely, in equal measure. Lucky us.”—Chicago Tribune
“Sue Grafton’s most insightful and revealing book to date is arguably ‘Kinsey and Me,’ . . . The catharsis of ‘Kinsey and Me’ is Grafton’s gift to her readers, who see that she is Kit Blue and Kinsey Milhone as well as a writer who, in creating both characters, has accepted and also transcended herself.  In identifying with Kit and Kinsey and Sue Grafton too, readers can better negotiate their own imperfect lives with humor and courage and strength.”—The Courier-Journal
"Terrific . . . The Kinsey stories and the Kit stories together open a window into Grafton's soul."—USA Today
“What could be better, while waiting for the twenty-third mystery in Grafton’s alphabet series, than this revelatory collection of stories featuring both Grafton’s alter ego, PI Kinsey Millhone, and the author herself? . . . Kinsey fanatics, sensing the coming end of the landmark series, will be thrilled to read this nonalphabetic extra.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Provides moving and surprising insights into the woman behind the bestsellers…fans will admire Grafton’s impressive output and feisty fictional detective all the more knowing the challenging beginnings from which both grew.”—Publishers Weekly
“Piercingly sensitive.”—Kirkus
"It's a pleasure just to be in Kinsey's company as she refreshes the formula conventions with her snappy wit and candid opinions."—Marilyn Stasio, 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.
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.

Product Details

Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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.

Brief Biography

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

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Kinsey and Me 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.) )
dms2012 More than 1 year ago
I never really got into this. And I have every one of her Kinsey books.
yogagirlMK More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Me stories explain Sue Grafton's childhood, showing what a fine writer she is
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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---
roseofscotland More than 1 year ago
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.
maryclare More than 1 year ago
Nice and pleasant to pass a bit of time while waiting for the next novel.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A great collection of short stories. Gives you more of a background into the connection between Kinsey and her creator, Sue Grafton. I really enjoyed this one. A great book to pick up when you don't have time to read a lengthy novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
vanlyle More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I prefer her novels, the short stories were great to read. Also enjoyed the personal information about her.
yaya525 More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous 7 months ago
EXCELLENT WRITING. too much on her mother.
JULIANN1 More than 1 year ago
I first read Kinsey & Me in 1992, when it came out. I am now reading it for the fourth time. Reviewers to a great extent seem to pretty consistently say two things. One, that the Kinsey stories are a nice chance to get a Kinsey fix between novels, and two, that the Kit stories are difficult. I don't usually put my two cents in, but I very much want to say that I think the Kinsey stories are little miracles of plotting and movement. Grafton really shows what a master she is in this short form. Every word counts, the tone of the tales is perfect, and nothing is lost and much is gained. The Kit stories are painful, true, and would be even if we didn't know that Grafton is telling about herself. They are courageous and moving and hard to read because they are so real. I think this book is a treasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a departure for Grafton, and in some ways didn't work as successfully as her other books. Still a very good read with lots of insights into what makes Milhone click.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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