5 July 2015

Review: A IS FOR ALIBI, Sue Grafton

  • #1 in the Kinsey Millhone series
  • first published in 1982 in the USA, perhaps not until 1987 in UK (in paperback??)
  • this edition published for Kindle
  • File Size: 633 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; New Edit/Cover edition (April 1, 1991)
  • Publication Date: April 1, 1991
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005G14VK8
Synopsis (Amazon)

"My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I'm thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind..."

When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies' man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had 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, Nikki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her husband. But the trail has gone cold and there is a chilling twist even Kinsey didn't expect...

My Take

I chose to read this book for the Crime Fiction of the Year Challenge over at Past Offences, thinking it had first been published in 1987. I now know that it was published in the USA in 1982.

It is a significant book because it was the first in Sue Grafton's "Alphabet Series", with Kinsey Millhone as the central figure, and it sets the stage for Kinsey's sleuthing career.
Kinsey was born in 1950, but she really hasn't aged like the rest of us (I think she has reached a point where she doesn't age any more) . And around her Sue Grafton has built a "family" of characters, adding human elements to crime fiction scenarios that often reflect events in American society or politics.
It is also an important book because it set the benchmark for a number of series by other authors that featured female PIs.

Interestingly it is the first in the series that I appear to have read since beginning this blog. I appear to have 4 to catch up on: U, V, W, and X.
I did write about A IS FOR ALIBI as a "forgotten book" nearly 6 years ago. My post is here.

Sue Grafton has now written 24 in the series with X to be published later this year.
1. A is for Alibi (1982)
2. B Is for Burglar (1985)
3. C Is for Corpse (1985)
4. D Is for Deadbeat (1987)
5. E Is for Evidence (1988)
6. F Is for Fugitive (1989)
7. G Is for Gumshoe (1989)
8. H Is for Homicide (1991)
9. I Is for Innocent (1992)
10. J Is for Judgement (1993)
11. K Is for Killer (1994)
12. L Is for Lawless (1995)
13. M Is for Malice (1996)
14. N Is for Noose (1998)
15. O Is for Outlaw (1999)
16. P Is for Peril (2001)
17. Q Is For Quarry (2002)
18. R Is for Ricochet (2004)
19. S Is for Silence (2005)
20. T Is for Trespass (2007)
21. U Is for Undertow (2009)
22. V Is For Vengeance (2011)
23. W is for Wasted (2013)
24. X (2015)

My rating: 4.5 

Summary - Agatha Christie Reading Challenge for June 2015

If you read Agatha Christie, then you can enter your review in the monthly Agatha Christie Reading Challenge here.

Here are the entries for June 2015.

Agatha Christie Reading Challenge Participants
1. Agatha Christie's 14 poisons investigated in Scotland's crime writing festival
2. Covers: N or M? @ The Nick Carter & Carter Brown Blog
3. Margaret @ BooksPlease (Sad Cypress)
4. Margaret @ BooksPlease (Short Stories)
5. Agatha Christie and The Detection Club
6. Review: PARKER PYNE INVESTIGATES @ Past Offences
7. Review: PARTNERS IN CRIME @ Past Offences

3 July 2015

What I read in June 2015

Pick of the Month June 2015
I've had another good month - a couple of Australian authors, some translated Nordic titles, and of course some more British crime fiction.
  1. 4.4, TROUBLED WATERS, Gillian Galbraith - audio book
  2. 4.8, SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir- translated
  3. 4.4, BLOOD ON SNOW, Jo Nesbo - translated, a novella 
  4. 4.2, THE BLUE ROSES OF ORROROO, Margaret Visciglio - Australian, set in 1928/29 
  5. 4.4, CRYSTAL NIGHTS, Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen - Danish author 
  6. 4.6, I LET YOU GO, Clare Mackintosh - British, new to me author
  7. 4.9, TELL THE TRUTH, Katherine Howell - Australian
  8. 4.4, THE PORT FAIRY MURDERS, Robert Gott - Australian 
  9. 4.4, SECOND LIFE, S.S Watson - British 
  10. 4.0, CHEF MAURICE AND A SPOT OF A TRUFFLE, J. A. Lang   - cozy, British
My pick of the month was the final book in Katherine Howell's Ella Marconi series, TELL THE TRUTH

Paramedic Stacey Durham has an idyllic life; her dream job, a beautiful house, and a devoted husband. Until her car is found abandoned and covered in her blood.

Detective Ella Marconi knows information is key in the first twenty-four hours, questioning the frantic husband, Marie, the jealous sister, and Rowan, the colleague who keeps turning up in all the wrong places.
Just as Ella starts to piece together the clues, a shocking message arrives for James: You won't see her again if you don't tell the truth.

As she sifts through the lies, Ella's relationship with Dr Callum McLennan is under siege, and she doesn't know if it can survive the overenthusiasm of her family, or the blind hatred of his mother.
With the investigation hitting dead ends and new threats being made, Ella must uncover the truths buried beneath the perfect façade before the case goes from missing person to murder.

See my review

See what others have listed as their Pick of the Month

2 July 2015

Review: AS CHIMNEY SWEEPERS COME TO DUST, Alan Bradley

  • Format: Kindle
  • File Size: 965 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 038567838X
  • Publisher: Orion (April 23, 2015)
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2015
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00OKJWYVA
  • Source: Review copy from Net Galley
  • #7 in the Flavia De Luce series
Synopsis (Amazon)

It all began with that awful business about my mother, Harriet...


Following the dramatic events at the conclusion of THE DEAD IN THEIR VAULTED ARCHES and the shocking revelations about her mother, Flavia de Luce finds herself expelled from the familiar confines of Bishop's Lacey and her beloved family home, Buckshaw, and 'packed off', as she puts it, to Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada. With its forbidding headmistress and bizarre rules, adapting to Miss Bodycote's is quite a challenge. But Flavia is soon on familiar ground, when, on her first night, a mummified body is dislodged from a chimney, and she is presented with a gruesome puzzle to solve.

And the mystery of the withered corpse is only the beginning. Girls have been disappearing from Miss Bodycote's with alarming regularity, leading Flavia to wonder not only how and why, but what exactly is the academy's true purpose, and why were they so keen that she enrol? If Flavia is to avoid the same fate as the missing girls, she must enter a shadowy world where truth and lies seem interchangeable and no one can be trusted. And ultimately she must discover what it means to be her mother's daughter.

My Take

Perhaps it was because I haven't read #6 in this series, but I didn't enjoy this outing with Alan Bradley as much as I expected to.

I think it was partly because I'm not sure that the series has not become one directed at a teenage audience rather than an older adult one. There feels to be a hint of "Girl's Own" about it and Flavia's precociousness really ceased to amuse me. I kept thinking "after all, she is only a teenager", as she leapt to another misjudgement. In the long run I'm not sure why she was sent to Canada. There were surely other people on the spot at Miss Bodycote's Female Academy who knew what had been happening and could have solved the mysteries well enough. In fact, I didn't particularly like the denouement either.

Having got all that off my chest, it really was still acceptable reading, just not as good as earlier titles in the series. If I could write even half as well I'd be pleased.

My rating: 4.0


I've also read
4.8, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE
4.5, THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN'S BAG
4.5, A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD
4.7, I AM HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS
4.7, SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES  

Meme: new to me authors April to June 2015

It's easy to join this meme.

Just write a post about the best new-to-you crime fiction authors (or all) you've read in the period of April to June 2015, put a link to this meme in your post, and even use the logo if you like.
The books don't necessarily need to be newly published.

After writing your post, then come back to this post and add your link to Mr Linky below. (if Mr Linky does not appear - leave your URL in a comment and I will add to Mr Linky when it comes back up, or I'll add the link to the post)
Visit the links posted by other participants in the meme to discover even more books to read.

This meme will run again at the end of September 2015
 


1 July 2015

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month June 2015

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month 2015
Many crime fiction bloggers write a summary post at the end of each month listing what they've read, and some, like me, even go as far as naming their pick of the month.

This meme is an attempt to aggregate those summary posts.
It is an invitation to you to write your own summary post for June  2015, identify your crime fiction best read of the month, and add your post's URL to the Mr Linky below.
If Mr Linky does not appear for you, leave the URL in a comment and I will add it myself.

You can list all the books you've read in the past month on your post, even if some of them are not crime fiction, but I'd like you to nominate your crime fiction pick of the month.

That will be what you will list in Mr Linky too -
e.g.
ROSEANNA, Maj Sjowall & Per Wahloo - MiP (or Kerrie)

You are welcome to use the image on your post and it would be great if you could link your post back to this post on MYSTERIES in PARADISE.


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