Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kinsey Millhone is back

Kinsey Millhone, private investigator, is following up an insurance claim, and at the same time her grumpy, elderly neighbor has a nasty fall and ends up in the hospital. When he is discharged, he needs some nursing help at home, and his one remaining relative, who lives far away, asks Kinsey to vet the woman who has applied for the job. Everything looks good.

The point of view switches between Kinsey and the prospective nurse, who is a thoroughly unpleasant sociopath of a woman. She is taking on someone else's identity (hence the lack of red flags on Kinsey's initial background check), and she is out to take her poor old charge for every cent she can.

I am not a big fan of open mysteries, and I found this one to be unappealing. There wasn't much of a mystery at all, more of a slow setting up for the plot to defraud the old man, with Kinsey always one step behind until the very end. There were too many disturbing details about the woman's abusive treatment of her patient for my liking - pretty awful stuff. Meanwhile, not much is happening with Kinsey's personal life - she has no romantic attachments, no new ambitions, and her recently discovered relatives from previous books are nowhere in sight. She seems to be stagnating, which didn't make for very compelling reading. There were also lots of extraneous details that had nothing to do with either of the plot lines, so that much of the beginning of the novel read like notes from Kinsey's day planner. I kept wondering what the point was.

All in all, I have to say this one was a disappointment. I have been with this series since the letter A (I think only four or five had been published when I first started reading it), and I've been reading the books ever since. At this point, though, I think I've had enough. It's a bit sad, but there are so many wonderful books out there; I think I'm going to give the rest of this series a miss.

T is for Trespass (#20 in the Kinsey Millhone mystery series) by Sue Grafton (Putnam, 2007)

Also reviewed at:
Androcass
Lyvvie's Limelight

7 comments:

  1. Another author I've heard so much about. I still haven't read any of her books but quite a few people seem to love them. This story would just make me really mad so I won't be reading this!

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  2. It made me really mad - I had to put it down and read other things, and I debated not going back to it at all, but I'd gotten more than halfway through, so I decided to finish it up. The first ones in the series are slim and spare, but my favorites are in the middle, where there's a good mix of the mystery and the personal.

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  3. You know, I started this series YEARS ago. I read the first, oh maybe 6 books super fast. But I never really continued. I don't knwo why either. I really enjoyed the ones I read!

    Nice Review!

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  4. I've been with the series since "A" also. While I wasn't terribly disappointed with this book, I certainly did not think it lived up to the hype of the blurbs on the dust-jacket. I'm sure I'll finish out the series, if only to vicariously enjoy those quarter-pounders with cheese with Kinsey!

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  5. Stephanie - I know what you mean - there are series I fully intend to continue with, but somehow I never get around to it. By the time I do, I can't really remember what was going on, and then I feel that I have to reread them all, and that can be off-putting.

    Laura - my initial disappointment may be a dim memory by the time U comes out, so I may cave and go on with the series. I've liked some more than others, but this was the first one I actively disliked. I agree - the hype was way too much!

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  6. I started this series a couple years ago, I read A through S over one year. Then had to wait forever to get T. I didn't care much for it either, but I'm still going to continue it.

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  7. Ginny - wow, that must have been quite the alphabet mystery read-a-thon! I'm glad you have enjoyed the series so much.

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