G is for Gumshoe
by Sue Grafton
Review by Sherry Lilley
St. Martin's Griffin Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250025463
Date: 09 April 2013 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
This is probably my favorite Kinsey Millhone book, and I've read them all. First of all, I love the new place. Kinsey's been living with her landlord for the last several months because her apartment (a one car garage converted to a small apartment) was blown up by someone who wasn't too happy with Kinsey. As is the way with all construction projects, it's taken several months longer to complete than originally anticipated, and Kinsey is anxious to get back into her own space. Her landlord, Henry Pitts, has had way too much fun designing and decorating the place, and Kinsey is a little afraid of what it will look like. Fortunately, it's wonderful, with a place for everything and everything in its place. It's small, and everything in it is scaled to fit. It's a refuge for a person who needs one, and Kinsey definitely needs a refuge at this time.
In this book, P.I. Kinsey Millhone is asked to check on an elderly woman living alone out in the desert in a sort of community called the Slabs. It's what is left of a military base down near the Salton Sea. Her daughter, Irene, hasn't heard from her in several months and is worried about her. Irene used to live in Palm Springs, closer to her mother, but now she lives in Santa Teresa, where Kinsey lives. Irene's health is not good, and finding out why is part of the answer to this mystery. So Kinsey packs her indestructible dress and her battered typewriter into the VW and heads off into the desert to see what's going on. The trip gets a little complicated because someone from her past has put out a contract on Kinsey and the hit man is trying to collect. Several times I wish Kinsey could just pick up her cell phone and call someone. But this book is set 20 years ago, when cell phones weren't in every pocket and a laptop wasn't in every briefcase.
This is one of the best books in this series. The characters are well done and the story is interesting. The side characters are fun. The details about the Slabs and its inhabitants are very interesting – a look into a lifestyle most of try not to know about. I would recommend this book to everyone who likes a good, character-driven mystery.