Sue Grafton has become one of the most popular mystery writers, both here and in the US. Born in Kentucky in 1940, the daughter of the mystery writer C.W. Grafton, she began her career as a TV scriptwriter before Kinsey Millhone and the 'alphabet' series took off. She lives and writes in Montecito, California, and Louisville, Kentucky.
YA-Asked to investigate the death of 25-year-old Lorna Kepler, which occurred 10 months earlier, P.I. Kinsey Millhone uncovers the young woman's secret life as a high-class call girl, her half a million dollars in blue-chip investments, but no clue as to the murderer. The main plot is strengthened by several subplots including the whereabouts of a $20,000 withdrawal made the day of Lorna's death; the misleading spying antics of her landlord's wife; and the greed and jealousy of the victim's overweight older sister. Grafton's writing is vivid when describing Kinsey's soul-searching about the evil some people commit and in the resultant powerful ending. Though the 11th in the series, ``K'' is neither weak nor repetitive, providing excitement, intrigue, and a fierce need to finish reading it in one sitting.-Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
The 11th adventure of Santa Teresa, Calif., PI Kinsey Milhone has a dark tone--due in great part to Kinsey's working this case mostly at night. Kinsey agrees to look into the 10-month-old death of Lorna Kepler, a young woman whose decomposed body was discovered in her cabin so long after death that it was impossible to determine the cause. Kinsey's client, Lorna's mother, who works the night shift in a 24-hour diner, suspects murder. So does Kinsey, especially after investigating Lorna's effects and her considerable assets, some unaccounted-for. An anonymously delivered pornographic tape adds to the emerging portrait of the dead woman as an intriguingly self-sufficient, ambitious woman of the evening. In nighttime forays, Kinsey talks to an all-night deejay whom Lorna often visited at his studio; she meets--and befriends--a prostitute who occasionally teamed up with Lorna to party with clients. She also investigates the victim's day job as a part-time receptionist for the water district, where a high-stakes development project is currently raising tempers. A host of suspects includes a porn filmmaker in San Francisco, members of Lorna's family, her landlord, the water district employees and even a smooth-dressing cop, whom Kinsey talks to at night. But lack of sleep dulls Kinsey's perceptions and it takes two more deaths and the surprise appearance of a deus ex limousine to lead her to a solution. Even sleep-deprived, Kinsey shows spunk and appeal, but she is not at her sharpest here. 600,000 first printing; author tour. (May)