When can you call it quits when it comes to murder?
In the 17th book in the popular alphabet murder mystery series by Sue Grafton, her hardworking female private eye, Kinsey Millhone, joins forces with two retired cops to solve a case of murder that stumped the police nearly two decades ago.
The book was inspired by a real life murder of a young teenage girl in Lompoc, California, which is just north of Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, as loyal fans of this mystery series know, is thinly disguised as Santa Teresa in the alphabet novels.
The body of the young teenage victim in the real life murder, as well as in this book, was discovered in an abandoned quarry off of California's exquisitely scenic Highway 1. In an unusual departure, author Grafton has included a picture of the reconstructed face of the actual victim in hopes that her readers will offer up some clue that could lead to the identity of the victim and, hopefully, the apprehension of the murderer.
This book, while entertaining, suffers from too much detail and not enough of the local color and quirkiness that have been hallmarks of previous Kinsey Millhone stories. The plot seems weighted down by endless detail and the two aged geezer sidekicks working with Kinsey (who we have come to love as the loner that she is) just aren't as appealing, nor as interesting, as the 'usual suspects' that Grafton readers have come to expect. However, there are layers and sublayers of plots. Enough to keep mystery fans on the lookout for more.
Read our biography of Sue Grafton.