Monday 15 January 2018

Book ~ "M is for Malice" (1996) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ "M" is for money. Lots of it. 

"M" is for Malek Construction, the $40 million company that grew out of modest soil to become one of the big three in California construction, one of the few still in family hands.

"M" is for the Malek family: four sons now nearing middle age who stand to inherit a fortune - four men with very different outlooks, temperaments and needs, linked only by blood and money. Eighteen years ago, one of them - angry, troubled and in trouble - went missing.

"M" is for Millhone, hired to trace that missing black sheep brother.

"M" is for memories, none of them happy. The bitter memories of an embattled family. This prodigal son will find no welcome at his family's table. 

"M" is for malice.

And in brutal consequence, "M" is for murder, the all-too-common outcome of familial hatreds.

"M" is for malice . . . and malice kills.

It's 1986 and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her mid-thirties.  Her cousin, Tasha, who is a lawyer, hires her to find an heir of the wealthy Malek family.  When Bader Malek died, everyone assumed his $40 million estate would be split between his three sons Donovan, Bennet and Jack ... but the will also names his disinherited son, Guy.  Guy was the black sheep of the family who had left home almost 20 years ago and hasn't been seen nor heard of since.   Kinsey is able to locate Guy, who comes back to the family home hoping for a happy reunion, but she is soon sorry that she had.

I liked this story and thought the reveal of the whodunnit at the end had a nice twist.  The book shows a more emotional side of Kinsey with her interactions with Tasha (who she meets for the first time in this book), the return of her former love, Robert Dietz, and finally dealing with the grief of the deaths of her parents and her aunt years ago.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the thirteenth in the "alphabet series" featuring Kinsey Millhone.  Though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone.  I discovered this series in the mid-1990s and have read them all.  I started rereading them last year.  With the author's recent death, Y is for Yesterday will be the end of the series.

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