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Archive for the ‘Drought’ Category

Any time we return to Kinsey Millhone is a treat and X by Sue Grafton is no exception. XIn some of this alphabet series books, the neighbors play an important role and some Millhone’s family plays a big part. In X, there’s no family (other than references to them every now and then) and some neighborly stuff.

There are three stories going on in X.

It is the 1989 drought in California and Kinsey’s neighbor and landlord, Henry Pitt is concerned about water consumption. Despite all his water conservation measures, his water bills are rising. Along with this, Henry and Kinsey appear to have needy, clingy new next door neighbors.

In early March, a woman contacts Kinsey. She’s being rather secretive and private and would prefer to meet at her home rather than in Kinsey’s office to discuss her services. However, she is also leaving the next morning on an extended trip. So in early evening, Kinsey takes the half hour drive along windy roads to meet Hallie Bettancourt in what can only be described as a mansion. Hallie wants to find the son she gave up for adoption many years earlier.

If you recall from other books, a fellow (somewhat slimy) detective, Pete Wolinsky was killed in a robbery attempt. His widow, Ruthie, is contacted by the IRS who is looking at Pete’s records as well as his former employer, Byrd-Shine Investigations, which ceased operations 15 years earlier. Ruthie has looked through whatever she has and come up empty handed and has asked Kinsey to look through the one box she has. While not finding any financial records, Kinsey did stumble across a sheet with 12 rows of numbers, each with 8 columns of 4 numbers, tucked into a folder. Additionally, underneath the bottom flap of the storage box was an envelope containing a rosary, a bible, and two greeting cards from a Lenore Redfern, who died a dozen years earlier. Apparently the envelope was meant for her daughter, who was four at the time of her death.

In X, nothing is as it appears to be, which of course, is why we like reading Sue Grafton mysteries. Other than the clothing Ms. Grafton describes, there is nothing that would set the book in 1989 vs. 2015–well maybe no cell phones and laptops. Her neighbors, Henry, William and Rosie play minor roles, as do her previous dalliances. Her new characters are interesting and the plots are new.

With only two more letters to go in the series, I’m hoping Ms. Grafton will think about doubling up on letters, AA is for Accidental Asphyxiation or start using numbers. I hate to think at she would stop writing. That would be T is for Tragic. Anyway, I’m sure there are many of you out there who have invested the time to read the 23 previous novels in the series. It would be silly to stop now. Go for it.

And don’t forget one of my favorite books by Grafton, Kinsey and Me. It is some of Grafton’s best and most interesting writing.

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