Author: Sue Grafton
Published: Jan 1st 1982
Publisher: St Martin's Paperbacks
Series: Kinsey Milhone #1
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Detective
PI Kinsey Milhone 32, in a pretty California town, gets her first case. Laurence Fife was a slick divorce lawyer and slippery ladies' man until someone killed him. Released from jail after 8 years, his wife Nikki wants the truth. But the trail is cold, and at the end is a chilling twist - a second eight-year-old murder and a brand new corpse. -Goodreads
This is the first in the Kinsey Millhone Detective series, and follows private investigator Kinsey as she tries to discover the real killer of a divorce lawyer eight years on from when the crime took place. I came into this novel with high hopes, it had some good reviews and I always love reading about female detectives, however it didn't really live up to the expectations. Maybe I just had higher hopes for it than it deserved, but it fell flat for me.
What I really felt was missing was the connection with the characters. As the main character, I expected to connect with Kinsey, instead I was left feeling that she lacked dimension and depth. Grafton tried to write her in a way that made her seem hard and kick ass, instead she came across as rude, cold and emotionless. Overall I didn't really like Kinsey at all. I also questioned some of her actions during the investigation, including the fact that she slept with one of the suspects, which seemed a strange decision for a private detective, and must be against the unspoken guidelines of being a detective? As the novel is written in first person, from Kinsey's point of view, I had hoped that this would allow for a better insight into how she went about solving the mysteries, and her train of thought throughout the novel. However there was very little thoughts and feelings in the narrative, it read as though she was just giving a statement of what happened, just including the facts and nothing else.
I also thought the "mystery" aspect was pretty average. I knew who had committed the crime from about half way through the novel, and it seemed obvious to me, and kind of disappointing that Kinsey didn't notice it.
I also felt that the novel was missing some of the mystery and suspense that I expect from a mystery novel, it all seemed rather simple, there was no great twist to the novel to surprise me.
However there were some things that I liked about the novel. Due to the fact that Kinsey's narrative lacked feelings, it included lots of descriptions, many of which I really liked reading. I also liked the ending of the book, the last couple of chapters were fast paced, and action filled, they took me no time to read, compared to the rest of the novel which was a little slow. I also enjoyed the various strands of the story and characters that were included in the novel, and how they all linked together.
Overall I gave this novel 3/5 as I thought it was an ok detective novel, but nothing special,and I don't think I will be continuing with the series.