Friday, September 15, 2006

S is For Silence (Book Review)

S is for Silence (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)

Sue Grafton

Date: 2005-12-06 — 16.98 — Book

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Review of S is for Silence (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)

I found this book on a lover's nightstand and took it home, as I'd not read a mystery in a good while.

This book is part of a series of mysteries all titled with letters of the alphabet, featuring thirty-something PI Kinsey Millhone. Though the series contains progressive elements from one book to the next, each book can also read comfortably as a stand-alone.

In this book, Kinsey is hired by a woman whose mother had disappeared over thirty years previously, when the woman was seven years old. The case had never been solved by police and the woman wanted closure; to find out whether her mother had deserted her family or had met with foul play.

The missing woman, Violet Sullivan, was a free-spirited libertine living with her abusive husband and daughter in 1950s small-town California, when she disappeared on Independence Day, 1953. The chapters alternate between the book's current setting in 1987 and 1953; from Kinsey's perspective and that of various key people who knew Violet at the time of her disappearance. The transition between time periods is smooth and the reader learns pertinent details from 1953 before Kinsey discovers them in 1987. We hear from Violet's husband, her lovers, the teenage girl who babysits for Violet's daughter, along with others in the community, each adding pieces to the puzzle.

The book is fast paced and I finished it overnight; a definite page-turner. We find out Violet's fate well before the end and the rest of the book is devoted to discovering how it came to be. It kept me guessing until the very end, as I considered several suspects, none of whom turned out to be the right one.

Good book. I intend to read more by this author.

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