You can tell I’m a little behind, can’t you? Only by 33 years, but still. Sue Grafton was only known to me as the woman who wrote the alphabet crime novels. For years I didn’t know if they were good, quality, or just light crime. And when one day I came across A is for Alibi in a charity shop, I decided this was the right book to start with.
And then a few more years passed. When Sue died, not long ago, Sara Paretsky said some lovely things about her peer. And more recently she said some more, and someone else whom I respect also mentioned how important these books were to her, and I got the A book down from my bookcase.
How things have changed! Published in 1986, it is almost a lesson in modern history, what with phone messenger services, and typewritten case notes stuffed in desk drawers.
I enjoyed this tale about the ghastly man who was murdered, and whose second wife was believed to have done it. Now out of jail, she wants PI Kinsey Millhone to find out who really did kill him.
My instincts were right. Partly. The whole case was more complicated than was first obvious, and with a few more killings, Kinsey had a lot to look into.
Loved her comment at the start, that the police believe ‘murders are committed by those we know and love, and most of the time they’re right – a chilling thought when you sit down to dinner with a family of five. All those potential killers passing their plates.’
Also loved that Sue began by plotting to kill her ex-husband, but decided to write a book instead. Good idea.