Thursday 8 February 2018

Book ~ "N is for Noose" (1998) Sue Grafton

From Goodreads ~ Kinsey Millhone should have done something else - she should have turned the car in the direction of home. Instead, she was about to put herself in the gravest jeopardy of her career. 

Tom Newquist had been a detective in the Nota Lake sheriff's office - a tough, honest cop respected by everyone. When he died suddenly, the townsfolk were saddened but not surprised.  Just shy of sixty-five, Newquist worked too hard, smoked too much and exercised too little. That plus an appetite for junk food made him a poster boy for an American Heart Association campaign. 

Newquist's widow didn't doubt the coroner's report. But what Selma couldn't accept was not knowing what had so bothered Tom in the last six weeks of his life. What was it that had made him prowl restlessly at night, that had him brooding constantly? Selma Newquist wanted closure and the only way she'd get it was if she found out what it was that had so bedeviled her husband. 

Kinsey should have dumped the case. It was vague and hopeless, like looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, she set up shop in Nota Lake, where she found that looking for a needle in a haystack can draw blood. Very likely, her own..

It's the late 1980s and Kinsey Millhone is a private detective in Santa Teresa, CA, in her mid-thirties.  She has been taking care of her boyfriend, Dietz, who just had knee surgery.  On her way home, she takes on one of his cases.  Selma's husband, Tom, was a sheriff's officer who had died of a heart attack a few weeks before.  There was something that was bothering him at the time of his death and Selma wants Kinsey to find out what it was.

As she investigates, Kinsey follows up on the last case that Tom was working on ... the case of a petty criminal, Alfie Toth, whom he had traced to a hotel in Santa Teresa before Toth died in what might have been a murder or a bizarre suicide.  Five years ago, a prison associate of Toth's had passed away in the same way.  There's no way this could be a coincidence.

I found this story boring and dull and I was happy when it was over.  The "whodunnit" and the why come out of the blue at the end.  It's written in first person perspective in Kinsey's voice.  As a head's up, there is swearing.

This is the fourteenth 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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