M Is for Malice (Kinsey Millhone Series #13)

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Overview

Brace yourself for an “ELECTRIFYING and THOROUGHLY SATISFYING” read (Publishers Weekly) from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton

Malek Construction is a mega-million-dollar company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction—and one of the few still in family hands. Today, the three Malek sons stand to inherit a fortune, but in order for any one of them to claim his share, the missing ...

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Overview

Brace yourself for an “ELECTRIFYING and THOROUGHLY SATISFYING” read (Publishers Weekly) from #1 New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton

Malek Construction is a mega-million-dollar company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction—and one of the few still in family hands. Today, the three Malek sons stand to inherit a fortune, but in order for any one of them to claim his share, the missing fourth brother must be found.

Now it’s up to Kinsey Millhone to find the man who, eighteen years ago, vanished without a trace. Did he run away—or was he abducted? Did he intend to make something of himself on his own, apart from the wealth and prowess of his family, or were his motives something more sinister?

The ties that bind. The rivalries of brotherhood. The fall of an empire… As Kinsey tries to unravel the mystery of the missing Malek brother she finds herself in a heart-stopping race against time in which loyalties are tested, greed is rampant, and no one—including Kinsey herself—is safe…

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PHENOMENAL PRAISE FOR THE MYSTERY NOVELS OF #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR SUE GRAFTON

“Exceptionally entertaining…an offbeat sense of humor and a feisty sense of justice.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Millhone is an engaging detective-for-hire…P.I. Kinsey Millhone and her creator…are arguably the best of [the] distaff invaders of the hitherto sacrosanct turf of gumshoes.”—The Buffalo News

“Once a fan reads one of Grafton’s alphabetically titled detective novels, he or she will not rest until all the others are found.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Millhone is a refreshingly strong and resourceful female private eye.”—Library Journal

“Tough but compassionate…There is no one better than Kinsey Millhone.”—Best Sellers

“A woman we feel we know, a tough cookie with a soft center, a gregarious loner.”—Newsweek

“Lord, how I like this Kinsey Millhone…The best detective fiction I have read in years.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Smart, tough, and thorough…Kinsey Millhone is a pleasure.”—The Bloomsbury Review

“Kinsey is one of the most persuasive of the new female operatives…She’s refreshingly free of gender clichés. Grafton, who is a very witty writer, has also given her sleuth a nice sense of humor—and a set of Wonder Woman sheets to prove it.”—Boston Herald

“What grandpa used to call a class act.”—Stanley Ellin

“Smart, sexual, likable and a very modern operator.”—Dorothy Salisbury Davis

“Kinsey’s got brains and a sense of humor.”—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Approaching middle age warily, PI Kinsey Millhone of the Southern California coast is mildly depressed, romantically vulnerable and in the process of reassessing her family ties. Yet, when it comes to her professional abilities, she's at the top of her form, as this deftly plotted and absorbing novel (her 13th appearance, after L Is for Lawless) proves. Bader Malek, a local industrial tycoon, has died, and his four sons now stand to inherit a substantial fortune. But one of them, Guy, has been missing since 1968. A drug addict, ne'er-do-well and all-around miscreant, Guy had been disinherited by his exasperated father shortly before he vanished. But that particular will has disappeared, and Kinsey has been hired by the family to find out if Guy is still alive and thus in line to collect his original portion of the estate. She quickly succeeds in locating him and brings back a sweet, guileless and totally reformed man. But is he? The three other brothersa truly devious, arrogant and greedy lotare deeply ambivalent about Guy's return. A murder in the family leaves the surviving Malek kin as prime suspects. This is a subtle and swiftly moving novel, pleasantly unpredictable, with an agreeable overlay of smoldering romance, as fellow PI and former lover Robert Dietz reenters Kinsey's life. Grafton's heroine -- more introspective, yet still feisty and surefooted -- leads this finely tuned and at times electrifying tale to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion.
Library Journal
Four heirs ask series star Kinsey Milhone to find their missing black sheep brotherperhaps just to fleece him.
School Library Journal
YA-As the alphabet of crime continues, Kinsey looks for Guy Malek, the missing son and partial heir to a huge fortune. She finds him, but then he is murdered. During their short friendship, Kinsey comes to believe that Guy's Christian conversion had been genuine and that he had been clean of drugs for most of his 17-year absence. The background provides scenes of disrupted family life in the 1970s. The informal style, witty repartee, and Kinsey's personality should appeal to teens.Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Salon
A journeyman in the annals of private eye lit, Sue Grafton is plowing through the alphabet as assuredly as Marlowe plowed through leggy blonds. In M is for Malice (according to the flyleaf, it also stands for money, memories and — shiver — murder), Grafton taps into her usual brew of family resentments, simmering jealousies, Santa Ana winds and surfside jogging.

Grafton's hero and doppelganger, Kinsey Millhone, ages more slowly than the rest of us: a dewy 32 when the series began 15 years ago, she's now a still-spry 35 — although in Zeitgeist years she's keeping pace. Twice-divorced and saddled with a series of Men Who Won't Commit, she's suddenly fretting about love and loss, specifically the comings and goings of one Robert Dietz, who bruised her heart a number of consonants ago. Here's Kinsey circa '96, a veritable Venusian in the land of Mars: "This is hopeless," she says to Dietz. "I don't know why we even bother with this. You're addicted to wandering and I'm rooted in place. You can't stay and I can't leave because I love where I am. This is your biennial interlude and I'm here for the duration, which means I'm probably doomed to a lifetime of guys like you." "'Guys like me?' That's nice. What does that mean?" "Just what it says. Emotionally claustrophobic."

Later Kinsey asks herself, "How did I end up with a man like him?," and I wanted to shriek: California, baby, it's California! But actually, it's worse than that: it's just another signpost in the domesticization of the private eye. When even a cantankerous misanthrope like Kinsey gets misty over the idea of hearth and home, we know modern detective fiction is going the way of the 19th-century novel.

Which is not to say M is for Malice is a stodgy read. Kinsey uncorks little lightning bolts of personality, along with a pleasing patter about her profession of choice. And Grafton conjures a chewy, locked-room puzzle concerning four rich brothers, one of whom will take a nasty fall. I just wish Kinsey had spent more time in the gravel pit the boys have inherited, and less in the pit of loneliness otherwise known as relationship hell. -- Elizabeth Pincus

From the Publisher
“Exceptionally entertaining…an offbeat sense of humor and a feisty sense of justice.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Millhone is an engaging detective-for-hire…P.I. Kinsey Millhone and her creator…are arguably the best of [the] distaff invaders of the hitherto sacrosanct turf of gumshoes.”

The Buffalo News

“Once a fan reads one of Grafton’s alphabetically titled detective novels, he or she will not rest until all the others are found.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Millhone is a refreshingly strong and resourceful female private eye.”—Library Journal

“Tough but compassionate…There is no one better than Kinsey Millhone.”—Best Sellers

“A woman we feel we know, a tough cookie with a soft center, a gregarious loner.”—Newsweek

“Lord, how I like this Kinsey Millhone…The best detective fiction I have read in years.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Smart, tough, and thorough…Kinsey Millhone is a pleasure.”—The Bloomsbury Review

“Kinsey is one of the most persuasive of the new female operatives…She’s refreshingly free of gender clichés. Grafton, who is a very witty writer, has also given her sleuth a nice sense of humor—and a set of Wonder Woman sheets to prove it.”—Boston Herald

“What grandpa used to call a class act.”—Stanley Ellin

“Smart, sexual, likable and a very modern operator.”—Dorothy Salisbury Davis

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250006486
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Series: Kinsey Millhone Series , #13
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 583,413
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

SUE GRAFTON entered the mystery field in 1982 with the publication of ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI, which introduced female hard-boiled private investigator Kinsey Millhone, operating out of the fictional town of Santa Teresa (a.k.a. Santa Barbara) California. ‘B’ IS FOR BURGLAR followed in l985 and since then, she has added 20 novels to the series, now referred to as “the alphabet” mysteries. In addition, she’s published eight Kinsey Millhone short stories, and with her husband, Steven Humphrey, has written numerous movies for television, including A Killer in the Family (starring Robert Mitchum), Love on the Run (starring Alec Baldwin and Stephanie Zimbalist), and two Agatha Christie adaptations, Sparkling Cyanide and Caribbean Mystery, which starred Helen Hayes.

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:

Read an Excerpt

1

Robert Dietz came back into my life on Wednesday, January 8. I remember the date because it was Elvis Presley’s birthday and one of the local radio stations had announced it would spend the next twenty-four hours playing every song he’d ever sung. At six A.M. my clock radio blared on, playing “Heartbreak Hotel” at top volume. I smacked the Off button with the flat of my hand and rolled out of bed as usual. I pulled on my sweats in preparation for my morning run. I brushed my teeth, splashed water on my face, and trotted down the spiral stairs. I locked my front door behind me, moved out to the street where I did an obligatory stretch, leaning against the gatepost in front of my apartment. The day was destined to be a strange one, involving as it did a dreaded lunch date with Tasha Howard, one of my recently discovered first cousins. Running was the only way I could think of to quell my uneasiness. I headed for the bike path that parallels the beach.

Ah, January. The holidays had left me feeling restless and the advent of the new year generated one of those lengthy internal discussions about the meaning of life. I usually don’t pay much attention to the passing of time, but this year, for some reason, I was taking a good hard look at myself. Who was I, really, in the scheme of things, and what did it all add up to? For the record, I’m Kinsey Millhone, female, single, thirty-five years old, sole proprietor of Kinsey Mill-hone Investigations in the southern California town of Santa Teresa. I was trained as a police officer and served a two-year stint with the Santa Teresa Police Department before life intervened, which is another tale altogether and one I don’t intend to tell (yet). For the last ten years, I’ve made a living as a private investigator. Some days I see myself (nobly, I’ll admit) battling against evil in the struggle for law and order. Other days, I concede that the dark forces are gaining ground.

Not all of this was conscious. Much of the rumination was simmering at a level I could scarcely discern. It’s not as if I spent every day in a state of unremitting angst, wringing my hands and rending my clothes. I suppose what I was experiencing was a mild form of depression, triggered (perhaps) by nothing more complicated than the fact it was winter and the California sunlight was in short supply.

I started my career investigating arson and wrongful-death claims for California Fidelity Insurance. A year ago, my relationship with CFI came to an abrupt and ignominious halt and I’m currently sharing space with the law firm of Kingman and Ives, taking on just about anything to make ends meet. I’m licensed, bonded, and fully insured. I have twenty-five thousand dollars in a savings account, which affords me the luxury of turning down any client who doesn’t suit. I haven’t refused a case yet, but I was strongly considering it.

Tasha Howard, the aforementioned first cousin, had called to offer me work, though the details of the job hadn’t yet been specified. Tasha is an attorney who handles wills and estates, working for a law firm with offices in both San Francisco and Lompoc, which is an hour north of Santa Teresa. I gathered she divided her time just about equally between the two. I’m normally interested in employment, but Tasha and I aren’t exactly close and I suspected she was using the lure of business to insinuate herself into my life.

As it happened, her first call came on the day after New Year’s, which allowed me to sidestep by claiming I was still on vacation. When she called again on January 7, she caught me off guard. I was at the office in the middle of a serious round of solitaire when the telephone rang.

“Hi, Kinsey. This is Tasha. I thought I’d try you again. Did I catch you at a bad time?”

“This is fine,” I said. I crossed my eyes and pretended I was gagging myself with a finger pointed down my throat. Of course, she couldn’t see that. I put a red eight on a black nine and turned up the last three cards. No play that I could see. “How are you?” I asked, perhaps a millisecond late.

“Doing well, thanks. How about you?”

“I’m good,” I said. “Gee, your timing’s uncanny. I was just picking up the phone. I’ve been making calls all morning and you were next on my list.” I often use the word gee when I’m lying through my teeth.

“I’m glad to hear that,” she said. “I thought you were avoiding me.”

I laughed. Ha. Ha. Ha. “Not at all,” said I. I was about to elaborate on the denial, but she plowed right on. Having run out of moves, I pushed the cards aside and began to tag my blotter with a little desktop graffiti. I block-printed the word BARF and gave each of the letters a three-dimensional cast.

She said, “What’s your schedule like tomorrow? Can we get together for an hour? I have to be in Santa Teresa anyway and we could meet for lunch.”

“I can probably do that,” I said with caution. In this world, lies can only take you so far before the truth catches up. “What sort of work are we talking about?”

“I’d rather discuss it in person. Is twelve o’clock good for you?”

“That sounds fine,” I said.

“Perfect. I’ll make reservations. Emile’s-at-the-Beach. I’ll see you there,” she said, and with a click she was gone.

I put the phone down, set the ballpoint pen aside, and laid my little head down on my desk. What an idiot I was. Tasha must have known I didn’t want to see her, but I hadn’t had the nerve to say so. She’d come to my rescue a couple of months before and though I’d repaid the money, I still felt I owed her. Maybe I’d listen to her politely before I turned her down. I did have another quick job in the works. I’d been hired to serve two deposition subpoenas in a civil case for an attorney on the second floor of our building.

I went out in the afternoon and spent thirty-five bucks (plus tip) on a legitimate salon haircut. I tend to take a pair of nail scissors to my own unruly mop about every six weeks, my technique being to snip off any tuft of hair that sticks out. I guess I must have been feeling insecure because it wouldn’t ordinarily occur to me to pay real bucks for something I can do so handily myself. Of course, I’ve been told my hairstyle looks exactly like a puppy dog’s backside, but what’s wrong with that?

The morning of January 8 inevitably arrived and I pounded along the bike path as if pursued by wild dogs. Typically, I use my jog as a way to check in with myself, noting the day and the ongoing nature of life at the water’s edge. That morning, I had been all business, nearly punitive in the energy I threw into the exercise. Having finished my run and my morning routine, I skipped the office altogether and hung around my place. I paid some bills, tidied up my desk, did a load of laundry, and chatted briefly with my landlord, Henry Pitts, while I ate three of his freshly baked sticky buns. Not that I was nervous.

As usual, when you’re waiting for something unpleasant, the clock seems to leap forward in ten-minute increments. Next thing I knew I was standing at my bathroom mirror applying cut-rate cosmetics, for God’s sake, while I emoted along with Elvis, who was singing “It’s Now Or Never.” The sing-along was taking me back to my high school days, not a terrific association, but amusing nonetheless. I hadn’t known any more about makeup in those days than I do now.

I debated about a new outfit, but that’s where I drew the line, pulling on my usual blue jeans, turtleneck, tweed blazer, and boots. I own one dress and I didn’t want to waste it on an occasion like this. I glanced at the clock. It was 11:55. Emile’s wasn’t far, all of five minutes on foot. With luck, I’d be hit by a truck as I was crossing the street.

Almost all of the tables at Emile’s were occupied by the time I arrived. In Santa Teresa, the beach restaurants do the bulk of their business during the summer tourist season when the motels and bed-and-breakfast establishments near the ocean are fully booked. After Labor Day, the crowds diminish until the town belongs to the residents again. But Emile’s-at-the-Beach is a local favorite and doesn’t seem to suffer the waxing and waning of the out-of-town trade.

Tasha must have driven down from Lompoc because a sassy red Trans Am bearing a vanity license plate that read TASHA H was parked at the curb. In the detective trade, this is what is known as a clue. Besides, flying down from Lompoc is more trouble than it’s worth. I moved into the restaurant and scanned the tables. I had little appetite for the encounter, but I was trying to stay open to the possibilities. Of what, I couldn’t say.

I spotted Tasha through one of the interior archways before she spotted me. She was seated in a small area off the main dining room. Emile had placed her by the front window at a table for two. She was staring out at the children’s play equipment in the little beach park across the street. The wading pool was closed, emptied for the winter, a circle of blue-painted plaster that looked now like a landing pad for a UFO. Two preschool-age children were clambering backward up a nearby sliding board anchored in the sand. Their mother sat on the low concrete retaining wall with a cigarette in hand. Beyond her were the bare masts of boats slipped in the harbor. The day was sunny and cool, the blue sky scudding with clouds left behind by a storm that was passing to the south of us.

A waiter approached Tasha and they conferred briefly. She took a menu from him. I could see her indicate that she was waiting for someone else. He withdrew and she began to peruse the lunch choices. I’d never actually laid eyes on Tasha until now, but I’d met her sister Liza the summer before last. I’d been startled because Liza and I looked so much alike. Tasha was cut from the same genetic cloth, though she was three years older and more substantial in her presentation. She wore a gray wool suit with a white silk shell showing in the deep V of the jacket. Her dark hair was streaked with blond, pulled back with a sophisticated black chiffon bow sitting at the nape of her neck. The only jewelry she wore was a pair of oversized gold earrings that glinted when she moved. Since she did estate planning, she probably didn’t have much occasion for impassioned courtroom speeches, but she’d look properly intimidating in a skirmish nonetheless. Already I’d decided to get my affairs in order.

She caught sight of me and I saw her expression quicken as she registered the similarities between us. Maybe all the Kinsey girl cousins shared the same features. I raised a hand in greeting and moved through the lunch crowd to her table. I took the seat across from hers, tucking my bag on the floor beneath my chair. “Hello, Tasha.”

For a moment, we did a mutual assessment. In high school biology, I’d studied Mendel’s purple and white flowering peas; the crossbreeding of colors and the resultant pattern of “offspring.” This was the very principle at work. Up close, I could see that her eyes were dark where mine were hazel, and her nose looked like mine had before it was broken twice. Seeing her was like catching a glimpse of myself unexpectedly in a mirror, the image both strange and familiar. Me and not me.

Tasha broke the silence. “This is creepy. Liza told me we looked alike, but I had no idea.”

“I guess there’s no doubt we’re related. What about the other cousins? Do they look like us?”

“Variations on a theme. When Pam and I were growing up, we were often mistaken for each other.” Pam was the sister between Tasha and Liza.

“Did Pam have her baby?”

“Months ago. A girl. Big surprise,” she said dryly. Her tone was ironic, but I didn’t get the joke. She sensed the unspoken question and smiled fleetingly in reply. “All the Kinsey women have girl babies. I thought you knew.”

I shook my head.

“Pam named her Cornelia as a way of sucking up to Grand. I’m afraid most of us are guilty of trying to score points with her from time to time.”

Cornelia LaGrand was my grandmother Burton Kinsey’s maiden name. “Grand” had been her nickname since babyhood. From what I’d been told, she ruled the family like a despot. She was generous with money, but only if you danced to her tune—the reason the family had so pointedly ignored me and my aunt Gin for twenty-nine years. My upbringing had been blue collar, strictly lower middle-class. Aunt Gin, who raised me from the age of five, had worked as a clerk/typist for California Fidelity Insurance, the company that eventually hired (and fired) me. She’d managed on a modest salary, and we’d never had much. We’d always lived in mobile homes—trailers, as they were known then—bastions of tiny space, which I still tend to prefer. At the same time, I recognized even then that other people thought trailers were tacky. Why, I can’t say.

Aunt Gin had taught me never to suck up to anyone. What she’d neglected to tell me was there were relatives worth sucking up to.

Tasha, likely aware of the thicket her remarks were leading to, shifted over to the task at hand. “Let’s get lunch out of the way and then I can fill you in on the situation.”

We dealt with the niceties of ordering and eating lunch, chatting about only the most inconsequential subjects. Once our plates had been removed, she got down to business with an efficient change of tone. “We have some clients here in Santa Teresa caught up in a circumstance I thought might interest you. Do you know the Maleks? They own Malek Construction.”

“I don’t know them personally, but the name’s familiar.” I’d seen the company logo on job sites around town, a white octagon, like a stop sign, with the outline of a red cement mixer planted in the middle. All of the company trucks and job-site Porta Potti’s were fire engine red and the effect was eye-catching.

Tasha went on. “It’s a sand and gravel company. Mr. Malek just died and our firm is representing the estate.” The waiter approached and filled our coffee cups. Tasha picked up a sugar pack, pressing in the edges of the paper rim on all sides before she tore the corner off. “Bader Malek bought a gravel pit in 1943. I’m not sure what he paid at the time, but it’s worth a fortune today. Do you know much about gravel?”

“Not a thing,” I said.

“I didn’t either until this came up. A gravel pit doesn’t tend to produce much income from year to year, but it turns out that over the last thirty years environmental regulations and land-use regulations make it very hard to start up a new gravel pit. In this part of California, there simply aren’t that many. If you own the gravel pit for your region and construction is booming—which it is at the moment—it goes from being a dog in the forties to a real treasure in the 1980s, depending, of course, on how deep the gravel reserves are and the quality of those reserves. It turns out this one is on a perfect gravel zone, probably good for another hundred and fifty years. Since nobody else is now able to get approvals . . . well, you get the point I’m sure.”

“Who’d have thunk?”

“Exactly,” she said and then went on. “With gravel, you want to be close to communities where construction is going on because the prime cost is transportation. It’s one of those backwater areas of wealth that you don’t really know about even if it’s yours. Anyway, Bader Malek was a dynamo and managed to maximize his profits by branching out in other directions, all building-related. Malek Construction is now the third-largest construction company in the state. And it’s still family owned; one of the few, I might add.”

“So what’s the problem?”

“I’ll get to that in a moment, but I need to back up a bit first. Bader and his wife, Rona, had four boys—like a series of stepping-stones, all of them two years apart. Donovan, Guy, Bennet, and Jack. Donovan’s currently in his mid-forties and Jack’s probably thirty-nine. Donovan’s the best of the lot; typical first child, steady, responsible, the big achiever in the bunch. His wife, Christie, and I were college roommates, which is how I got involved in the first place. The second son, Guy, turned out to be the clunker among the boys. The other two are okay. Nothing to write home about, at least from what Christie’s said.”

“Do they work for the company?”

“No, but Donovan pays all of their bills nonetheless. Bennet fancies himself an ‘entrepreneur,’ which is to say he loses great whacks of money annually in bad business deals. He’s currently venturing into the restaurant business. He and a couple of partners are opening a place down on Granita. Talk about a way to lose money. The man has to be nuts. Jack’s busy playing golf. I gather he’s got sufficient talent to hit the pro circuit, but probably not enough to earn a living at it.

“At any rate, back in the sixties, Guy was the one who smoked dope and raised hell. He thought his father was a materialistic, capitalistic son of a bitch and told him so every chance he could. I guess Guy got caught in some pretty bad scrapes—we’re talking criminal behavior—and Bader finally cut him off. According to Donovan, his father gave Guy a lump sum, ten grand in cash, his portion of the then-modest family fortune. Bader told the kid to hit the road and not come back. Guy Malek disappeared and he hasn’t been seen since. This was March 1968. He was twenty-six then, which would make him forty-three now. I guess no one really cared much when he left. It was probably a relief after what he’d put the family through. Rona had died two months before, in January that same year, and Bader went to his attorney with the intention of rewriting his will. You know how that goes: ‘The reason I have made no provision for my son Guy in this will is not due to any lack of love or affection on my part, but simply because I have provided for him during my lifetime and feel that those provisions are more than adequate—blah, blah, blah.’ The truth was, Guy had cost him plenty and he was sick of it.

Excerpted from M is for Malice by .

Copyright © 1996 by Sue Grafton.

Published in 1996 by Henry Hold and Company, LLC.

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2013

    M is for Malice

    Kinsey seems to have her work cut out for her when she needs to find a missing son when his father dies and leaves a portion of his large estate to his four sons. After 18+ years of being missing Guy Malek was basically left for dead by his brothers. Not happy about reuniting and giving a fourth of their fathers fortune to the screw up of the family the three brothers reluctently agree to have kinsey find him. She surprising finds him in no time at all completely transformed from his former self. When the brothers get together tensions are high so high that someone ends up dead and Kinsey will have to find out who killed him. Not my favorite Kinsey book, but still pretty good.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2000

    Not the greatest but....

    I've read most of Sue Grafton's books. I'm almost done with 'N' is for Noose. Though I enjoyed reading 'M' is for Malice, it wasn't the greatest of Graftons books. The book is not boring by any means but it's just lacking something.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Really good

    I liked this one a lot better than the last 2 novels. It was very sad and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on.

    "M" is for money. Lots of it. "M" is for Malek Construction, the $40 million company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction, one of the few still in family hands.

    "M" is for the Malek family: four sons now nearing middle age who stand to inherit a fortune--four men with very different outlooks, temperaments, and needs, linked only by blood and money. Eighteen years ago, one of them--angry, troubled, and in trouble--went missing.

    "M" is for Millhone, hired to trace that missing black sheep brother.

    "M" is for memories, none of them happy. The bitter memories of an embattled family. This prodigal son will find no welcome at his family's table. "M" is for malice.

    And in brutal consequence, "M" is for murder, the all-too-common outcome of familial hatreds.

    "M" is for malice . . . and malice kills.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Loved it!

    So far i've found this book to be the best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    M is for Millhone!

    I love all of Sue Grafton's books. I particularly love her main character Kinsey. You can relate to her in so many ways and I fall over laughing at some of her quirks. It is very light-hearted, but also very suspenseful at times. You always think you have figured out the plot and then.....nope, not even close! Can't wait to get on to N!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    The Alphabet Mysteries

    Kinsey Millhone is an interesting character. Unfortunately, aside from some background information, rarely does the character give us insight to her personal thoughts/development. Generally, the surrounding characters are interesting. The plots take interesting twists at times and at others are somewhat transparent.

    Having read the entire series (A through T), at the end of each and every book I felt I had been left hanging. The "closure" left me wondering about some of the loose threads...a feeling of wanting a bit more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2006

    Spunky Detective Seeks Prodigal Son

    Guy Malek had been a doper, dropout, drunk, habitual liar, hell-raiser, hippy, libertine, rebel, thief--and apparently a heartless swindler. Even his long-suffering father had finally had enough and had kicked him out of the house--never to return. His father had drawn up a new will to disinherit Guy. Many years later, following the father's death, the new will cannot be found. Therefore, Guy is probably heir to one quarter of the forty-million-dollar Malek Construction Company. The three remaining Malek brothers and other interested parties would just as soon that Guy remain lost, but they have a legal obligation to search for him. He seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth. Kinsey Millhone takes on the job of finding Guy Malek. As she searches for Guy, and digs deeper into the seething stew of emotions surrounding him, she discovers many motives for deadly violence and--eventually--deadly violence. It then falls to Kinsey learn what happened before a possibly innocent person is convicted of murder and before murder happens again. The character portrayals (always a Grafton strong point) are better in this novel than anywhere. The novel is well-plotted and the two principal crimes are both logical. There is much clever reasoning and detective work on the part of Kinsey Millhone, and there is much clever writing generally. The writing right before the final few scenes is very good, and holds a reader's attention. The epilogue is also good. Much of the attraction of the Kinsey Millhone books is Kinsey herself--her amusing internal struggles, her professional machinations, her involvement in lovers' discussions and quarrels. There is plenty of this in 'M' is for Malice. One theme of the novel is the familiar Grafton insistence that promiscuity and free love are destructive, especially for women. Another theme is the need for people to finally let go of those who have passed on this is something that Kinsey, for all her fierce independence, finds very hard to do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    GOOD STORY LINE AND CHARACTERS

    ANOTHER GREAT SUE GRAFTON BOOK. KEEPS YOU GUESSING TILL THE VERY END. RECOMMENDED FOR SUE FANS.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2003

    Good

    One of the top 5. The first one, A is for Alibi is still the best

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2001

    Glad I gave Grafton a 2nd Chance

    This is the second book that I read by Sue Grafton. I was disappointed in K is for Killer but M is for Malice was terrific. The plot and characters were never boring. She kept you guessing up until the very end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 5, 2011

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    Posted January 15, 2012

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    Posted December 17, 2011

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    Posted December 19, 2013

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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    Posted September 27, 2011

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    Posted April 17, 2012

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews

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