(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kinsey Millhone, PI, captures vengeful murderers, exposes elaborate scams, and outsmarts the criminals in her usual witty, lovable way in nine stories written between 1986 and 1991 and first privately published in a limited edition of 300 copies. These tales are every bit as engaging to read as Grafton's (U Is for Undertow) full-length novels. Grafton's humor shines through in every story, particularly in "The Lying Game," which was written for the 40th anniversary of the Land's End catalog. The second section of this collection features the character of Kit Blue as the author herself, writing a fictionalized history of her own difficulties growing up as the child of alcoholic parents. Readers will also appreciate Grafton's thoughts on writing short stories, contained in the foreword, as well as the introduction in which she explains how the character of Kinsey came to her mind as her "alter-ego." Verdict Along with regular followers of Grafton's series, fans of mysteries and short stories will enjoy this collection.-Linda Oliver, MLIS, Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* What could be better, while waiting for the twenty-third mystery in Grafton's alphabet series, than this revelatory collection of stories featuring both Grafton's alter ego, PI Kinsey Millhone, and the author herself? The volume includes 9 stories with Kinsey as protagonist (8 were published in 1991 in a very limited edition for family and friends); 13 short-short stories about Kit Blue, a younger version of Grafton; an introduction; and an essay, which bridges the two sections of the book, about the development of the private-eye mystery. In the Kit Blue stories, Grafton lays bare the pain of growing up with an alcoholic mother who died too young of cancer yet also credits her mystery writer and lawyer father (also alcoholic) and mystery-reading mother for making her the writer she became. Readers are likely to revel most in the wonderfully concise Kinsey stories, 2 of which, The Parker Shotgun and A Poison That Leaves No Trace, are award winners. Also especially intriguing are The Lying Game, written for Land's End's fortieth anniversary catalog in 2003, and Falling off the Roof, in which members of a mystery book club take their passion for murder beyond the printed page. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: To whet fans' appetites for W Is for . . . , the Kinsey Millhone mystery coming in 2013, Grafton offers a selection of Millhone and Kit Blue short stories. Kinsey fanatics, sensing the coming end of the landmark series, will be thrilled to read this nonalphabetic extra.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist
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This short story collection from Grafton (V Is for Vengeance) combines glimpses of her series detective, Kinsey Milhone, with a revealing self-portrait, separating the two with a thoughtful essay on the evolution of the private eye. The volume opens with nine crisply plotted Milhone tales, each with a clever hook: a woman's book club that does more than read about alibis, a twist on the classic "poison that leaves no trace." The second, shorter section contains 13 pieces written after the death of the author's mother. Featuring "a younger version" of Grafton called Kit Blue and a moody, atmospheric style, they searingly evoke the author's alcoholic parents as she struggles to make peace with her troubled childhood. These provide moving and surprising insights into the woman behind the bestsellers. Though the two sections of the book feel strikingly different, fans will admire Grafton's impressive output and feisty fictional detective all the more knowing the challenging beginnings from which both grew. Agent: Molly Friedrich, the Friedrich Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.