Sue Grafton’s mystery series about private detective Kinsey Millhone has been making its way through the alphabet and is getting into the tricky letters now (I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for “X” and “Z”). Her latest in mass paperback, W is for Wasted, has Kinsey backtracking to tell how two dead bodies, one, a homeless man dead of natural causes and one a murder victim, a detective she had sometimes worked with albeit reluctantly (two deaths seemingly unrelated) were to dramatically impact her life.
Kinsey is not your average private detective. She is young, short and slight, lives in a renovated garage (designed like the interior of a ship) which she rents from a retired chef, jogs every morning, is a former cop, worked for a while for an insurance company, and lives in the quiet community of Santa Teresa in southern California. She was orphaned at a young age and brought up by an eccentric aunt, totally unaware that she had a whole clan of relatives living within an hour’s drive of her home, all related to her mother. Now it turns out that the dead homeless man had her name and phone number in his pocket because her father was his favourite uncle and the rest of his immediate family had disowned him.
The trail of clues leads Kinsey through a homeless camp of dangerous ruffians, a university laboratory where the study results are being fudged, a confrontation with grasping relatives she didn’t know she had, a reunion with a P.I. with whom she has a personal relationship and concludes with a harrowing confrontation with a scalpel-wielding former surgeon. There really isn’t a dull moment in the whole book. All of Sue’s books are full of twists and surprises and are hard to put down, making them a very fast read. These are part of my “comfort” reads, the books I turn to when I crave something familiar and exciting. Great for reading on the road! W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mystery)! ****