Saturday 18 November 2017

Book ~ "H is for Homicide" (1991) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ H IS FOR HUSTLER

When PI Kinsey Millhone's good friend and colleague, Parnell Perkins, is found murdered in the parking lot behind California Fidelity Insurance, she can't believe he had any enemies. The only clue that raises a red flag for Kinsey is one of Parnell's files on a Bibianna Diaz, who appears to have made a lucrative career out of scamming insurance companies with phony claims.


Taking an alias, Kinsey goes undercover to befriend Bibianna, hoping she'll get close enough to catch the con artist at her own game. But Kinsey never dreams that hanging out with Bibianna will get them both thrown in jail. And when they're released, Bibianna's very jealous, very dangerous ex-fiancé, Raymond Maldonado, is waiting for them.


Kinsey soon discovers the short-tempered thug is the kingpin behind Bibianna's and countless other phony insurance claims. But was Raymond also responsible for Parnell's death? All Kinsey knows is that she'll have to think quick to nab one of the most treacherous criminals she's come face to face with - and keep herself alive.

Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, and is in her thirties.  She does occasional freelance work for an insurance company in return for office space.  She is working on the claim file of a woman named Bibianna for possible car insurance fraud.  To get close to Bibianna, Kinsey pretends to be Hannah Moore.

Bibianna has an ex-boyfriend named Raymond, who wants her back in Los Angeles ... bad enough that he sends his brother to bring her to get her.  It doesn't work out as Raymond planned and Kinsey ends up getting arrested with Bibianna to stay close to her.  There she's approached by the police to go undercover to get more information on Raymond, who they suspect is the head of huge car insurance fraud ring.  When they are released from jail, Raymond is there and, against their will, takes them back to Los Angeles.

I wasn't crazy about this story.  I found it hard to believe that Kinsey would risk her life and allow herself to be basically kidnapped for about a week by a psycho like Raymond.  Though watched, she did have opportunities to leave and/or contact the police but she hung on to get evidence on Raymond.

The story is written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  I didn't find many of the characters likable and since she was out of town for this book, I missed Henry and Rosie.  As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

This is the eighth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  Since the series will soon come to an end (I finished the latest, Y is for Yesterday, last month), I am starting at the beginning and rereading them.  They are all set in the 1980s before everyone had a computer, cell phone, people still smoke in public places, etc.  Raymond did have a "car phone", though.

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