L is for Lawless
by Sue Grafton
Kinsey is technically on vacation in this book, but of course she can’t help but get caught up in an investigation. Her landlord and friend Henry asks for a favor as his brother’s wedding to Rosie approaches. Kinsey helps him out by looking into the question of a friend’s military history. Instead of finding a simple answer Kinsey finds herself on a cross country trip to follow some missing money and uncover the answer to a 40-year-old bank robbery.
My favorite bits were meeting a few of Henry’s siblings, Kinsey’s turn as an undercover hotel maid and a sweet-as-pie Granny with a few hidden talents. I also loved that the true focus of this one is family. Everyone from the criminals to Henry and Kinsey herself are dealing with the question of what makes you family. Is it blood or loyalty and do you get to choose your family?
BOTTOM LINE: Like all the alphabet mysteries, this one was a quick read and an entertaining palette cleanser. I’ll keep working my way through the series whenever I need a break from my regular reading material.
M is for Malice
by Sue Grafton
Kinsey’s cousin Tasha hires her to find a missing person. Guy Malek ran away from home as a young man and has been missing for almost 20 years. He was always the black sheep of his wealthy family, but when his father passes away and names him in the will his brothers need to locate him. When Kinsey finds him she realizes that he has become a kind and sincere man, nothing like the teenage hellion she heard tales about.
For me, this was one of the best Kinsey Millhone books I’ve read. They tend to follow the same pattern, as most detective novels do, but some cases are stronger than others. After a few mediocre ones this book felt like it got back to the heart of who Kinsey is. She can’t help but look out for people, even if it isn’t to her benefit. She finds herself drawn to Guy and trying to look out for his interests.
This installment also includes the return of Robert, the fellow P.I. and romantic flame that we met in G is for Gumshoe. His presence has an interesting effect on Kinsey. She prides herself on being self-sufficient and never really needing anyone, but having him around makes her question that.
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best in the series so far, this case hits a lot of emotional buttons for Kinsey. It becomes very personal for her and she finds herself thinking about the losses she’s faced in her own life.