Sue Grafton has become one of the most popular mystery writers, both here and in the US. Born in Kentucky in 1940, the daughter of the mystery writer C.W. Grafton, she began her career as a TV scriptwriter before Kinsey Millhone and the alphabet' series took off. She lives and writes in Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky.
In her 12th alphabetically entitled appearance (e.g., "K" Is for Killer, Holt, 1994), plucky private investigator Kinsey Millhone is just doing a favor for a friend‘checking the military status of a recently deceased neighbor‘when she's sucked into a chase for the spoils of a 1941 bank heist. It's a lively outing with a couple of heart-pounding scenes, some interesting characters (the most memorable: a half-blind 85-year-old grandmother who wields a shotgun and a baseball bat), and even a little detection. There are also hints of Kinsey's connecting with long-lost relatives, plus a romatic wedding of octogenarians. And, as usual, Grafton gives enough background so it's not necessary to start reading the series at "A." With Grafton's legion of fans growing and her first print runs escalating from 150,000 for "H" to 750,000 for "L," every library with mystery readers should have this book, preferably in multiples. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/95.]‘Michele Leber, Fairfax Cty. P.L., Va.
Bemused, beleaguered and begrimed, Southern California's premier PI, Kinsey Millhone leaves her hometown of Santa Teresa in an adventure (her 12th in the alphabet series) that begins straightforwardly enough but quickly twists into a knotted string of untruths. While getting ready for the Thanksgiving Day wedding between a local tavern keeper and the elder brother of her landlord, Kinsey agrees to help the family of recently deceased neighborhood WWII vet, Johnnie Lee, find out why the military has no record of his service. Soon after Kinsey has finished looking (fruitlessly) through his papers, Lee's rooms are burgled, and Ray Rawson, who claims he is an old friend recently arrived in Santa Teresa unaware of Lee's death, is beaten up. Kinsey soon finds herself on a plane bound for Florida, in possession of only the clothes she's wearing and her purse( with an extra toothbrush), trailing a young pregnant woman in possession of a duffel bag spirited from Lee's home. On a stopover in Dallas/Fort Worth, Kinsey sleuths disguised as a hotel maid dusting baseboards (``tough to picture the boy detectives doing this,'' she reflects), meets the increasingly unreliable Rawson again and encounters yet another figure from Lee's past, a violent, vengeful psychopath. While gradually sorting out the connections among this cast, Kinsey travels to Louisville, where Rawson's 80-something mother proves her mettle and Kinsey, determining that lawless, in this case, is neither adjective nor collective noun, unravels a decades-old mystery. 750,000 first printing; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections; author tour. (Sept.)