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.
Kinsey Millhone has kept her appeal by being distinctive and sympathetic without craving center stage. While some mysteries that provide the PI's shoe size or most despised food create a forced and intrusive intimacy, a master like Grafton makes the relationship relaxed and reassuring. Millhone's life is modest and familiar, though her love life, now featuring police detective Cheney Phillips, tends to be oddly remote. This 19th entry (after 2004's R Is for Ricochet) adopts a new convention: Millhone's customary intelligent and occasionally self-deprecating first-person reportage is interrupted by vignettes from the days surrounding the Fourth of July, 34 years earlier, when a hot-blooded young woman named Violet Sullivan disappeared. Violet's daughter, Daisy, who was seven at the time, hires Millhone to discover her mother's true fate. Violet had toyed with every man in town at one time or another, so there's no shortage of scandalous secrets and possible suspects. Constant revelations concerning several absorbing characters allow a terrific tension to build. However, the utterly illogical and oddly abrupt ending undermines what is otherwise one of the stronger offerings in this iconic series. One million first printing; Literary Guild, BOMC and Mystery Guild main selection. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
On July 4, 1953, small-town wife and mother Violet Sullivan disappears without a trace. Did she leave her abusive husband and young daughter behind, never to contact them again, or did a secret (or not-so-secret) lover do her in? Fast-forward to the 1980s: Daisy, the missing woman's now grown daughter, enlists Kinsey Milhone (R Is for Ricochet) to resolve her mother's disappearance. Although this is the 19th entry of her popular alphabet series, Grafton has struck on another fresh tack, alternating between Kinsey's current investigation and the days leading up to Violet's disappearance as told by the people who knew her. The climax that results when the two narratives converge will leave readers breathlessly awaiting the next installment. Essential for all collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 8/05.]-Andrea Young Griffth, Loma Linda Univ. Lib., CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.