I’m drawn to red herrings in an entertaining mystery novel — are you? I’ve just stumbled onto Sue Grafton’s “alphabet mysteries”, and in B Is for Burglar I happily feasted on a red herring served up by the author with all the trimmings. At the novel’s end, the surprise was on me.
Kinsey Millhone is the single, female, 32-year-old, self-employed private investigator who lives and works in fictional Santa Teresa, Calif. She is a former police officer. We’re given hints of a bad experience in that past that is still haunting her, and in part provided the spark behind her moving out of the force and into PI work.
In this book, the author grabs your interest right away with the mysterious and glamorous new client Beverly Danziger, who breezes into Kinsey’s office. She has an apparently benign request to find her missing sister, who appears to be dodging signing some legal papers. It doesn’t take long for Kinsey to discover that there is more to this story. Her investigation takes her back and forth from California to Florida. The stakes are raised when a burglary turns into murder.
Sue Grafton is an accomplished novelist, and celebrated screenplay writer. Her experience as a screenwriter taught her the basics of structuring a story, writing dialogue, and creating action sequences. It’s said that while going through a bitter divorce and custody battle that lasted six long years, Grafton imagined ways to kill or maim her ex-husband. Her fantasies were so vivid that she decided to write them down. That took her back to writing novels and she began this series. This installment in the series is an exciting, cozy mystery. Her writing is very descriptive. She includes effective details that allow the reader to really see the scenes, yet don’t bog down the action at all. The characters are all very believable, and some very cunning as I came to find out.
I’m looking forward to indulging in more entertainment as I work my way through this author’s alphabet, and undoubtedly feast on some more red herrings.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
— By Wendy Kendall
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.