Tuesday 5 September 2017

Book ~ "A is for Alibi" (1982) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ When Laurence Fife was murdered, few mourned his passing. A prominent divorce attorney with a reputation for single-minded ruthlessness on behalf of his clients, Fife was also rumored to be a dedicated philanderer. Plenty of people in the picturesque southern California town of Santa Teresa had a reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access, and opportunity, Nikki was their number-one suspect. The jury thought so, too.

Eight years later and out on parole, Niki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her late husband.

A trail that is eight years cold. A trail that reaches out to enfold a bitter, wealthy, and foul-mouthed old woman and a young boy, born deaf, whose memory cannot be trusted. A trail that leads to a lawyer defensively loyal to a dead partner - and disarmingly attractive to Millhone; to an ex-wife, brave, lucid, lovely - and still angry over Fife's betrayal of her; to a not-so-young secretary with too high a salary for too few skills - and too many debts left owing: The trail twists to include them all, with Millhone following every turn until it finally twists back on itself and she finds herself face-to-face with a killer cunning enough to get away with murder. 

It's 1982 and Niki Fife has just spent the last eight years in prison for killing her husband, Laurence, a divorce attorney.  She didn't do it so she hires Kinsey Millhone, a private detective, to figure out who is the real murderer.  A few days after Laurence had been killed, Libby, his law firm's accountant and Laurence's rumored affair, had died the same way (oleander poisoning).  How is it connected?  Laurence wasn't a nice guy so there are many suspects ... his ex-partner, his ex-wife, his adult children, former girlfriends, Libby's former boyfriend, etc.

As Kinsey is investigating, she is attracted to Laurence' former partner, Charlie, something she knows is a conflict of interest but she has a hard time fighting it.

A side case has Kinsey doing a job for an insurance company ... proving a woman who is off on disability doesn't deserve a pay out.

This is the first in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have been a fan since and have read them all.  Since the series will soon come to an end, I am starting at the beginning and rereading them.  They are all set in the 1980s before everyone had a computer, cell phone, etc.  We are introduced briefly to Henry and Rosie, who are prominent characters in the series.

I thought this book was good.  It's been about 20 years since I'd read it so I'd forgotten "whodunnit".   I like the writing style and thought it flowed well.  It is written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  It still held up for me considering I read it about 20 years ago and it was published about 35 years ago.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.


Buried In Print said...

I started to reread these too, with Z in mind, but I lost track of them at M, so at that point they'll be new for me. I wasn't expecting them to hold up at all, figured it'd be all about nostalgia, especially all the way back to A, but I enjoyed it more than expected. I'm only on D and I'm sure you'll race past me!

Teena in Toronto said...

It's been so long since I'd read the first ones that "A is for Alibi" was new to me. I even got the "whodunnit" wrong!