I hadn’t picked up a Sue Grafton book until she died late year. Actually, that’s not entirely true as I worked in bookstores for several years when Kinsey Millhone or Alphabet series came out. I just took them to be cozy mysteries – I’m not a fan – but then after all the platitudes came out from writers I enjoy, I bought a copy of A is for Alibi to give it a shot. It was everything people said it was: great writing and storytelling. Grafton kept me interested throughout. If I were another reviewer I might call it gripping or unputdownable, but I’m not, so I won’t.
The first few sentences of A is for Alibi begin as such:
My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I’m thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind. I’m a nice person and I have a lot of friends.
I liked how Grafton drops the killing of a person between Millhone’s description of herself. When Millhone says that she killed someone it was part matter-of-fact and you could tell that it is creating her great angst.
The mystery Grafton set up was good: a convicted husband killer, newly freed, hires Millhone to prove her innocent of his poisoning. Set in the 80s, since it was written, Grafton’s story still holds up quite well. I’ve read other books with female sleuths but Millhone was compelling. I think “the solve” at the end of the book as a bit of a reach, but I’m looking forward to reading others. I need to read some more of Grafton, but I can now see how people believe Grafton and Millhone belong with the giants.