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3.9 out of 5 stars106
3.9 out of 5 stars
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 March 2008
Sue Grafton's Alphabet series has been going for about 25 years now (I think 'T is for Trespass' has just been released) and I had been bought the A-J boxset for Christmas, so thought I'd start at the beginning with 'A is for Alibi'.

The story introduces the lead character, Kinsey Millhone. 32 years old, twice divorced and a private investigator. Kinsey is approached by a woman who has been wrongfully imprisoned for 8 years after being charged as guilty for the murder of her husband, a cheating, divorce lawyer who it seems everybody wanted dead. Kinsey is hired to find the truth behind his murder and also comes across another murder of a young woman who knew the victim and died in exactly the same way.

The plot is very tight, yet easy to follow.Not too many characters to confuse the reader and there's no un-neccessary plot fillers. It is just good, old fashioned crime solving that although can be dark and sinister in places, it still feels like a "comfort read" with enough humour and whitty dialogue to stop it from being very unsettling or disturbing - something that the crime fiction genre has reached it's boundries in recent years, so this is a refreshing change. As a massive fan of other female crime writers such as Patricia Cornwell, Karin Slaughter and PJ Tracy, it was nice to read a thriller that is still quite realistic and very exciting but without the gore. Kinsey's character is instantly likeable and believable . The killer stays a mystery until the last chapter, which in this case wasn't that surprising unfortunately, maybe due to the fact that there was only a handful of people that it could have been.

Overall this is a fantastic start to the long-running series, but could be better (and I bet it will be!) and I really look forward to reading on through the rest of Kinsey's investigations.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2005
Looking at a lot of the reviews here, it would seem that many people have done what I've done, i.e. read one of the later books in the alphabet series and then got back to this one, the first to really see how things started.
I would agree with some of the other comments that this isn't the best in the series, but it is good to be introduced to Kinsey for the first time and also some of the other characters we know are going to be popping up throughout the series; Henry Pitts and Rosie being prime examples.
Kinsey Milhone is a 32-year-old Santa Teresa private investigator licensed by the State of California. She is twice divorced, sassy and doesn't mind getting her hands dirty to get the job done. Her latest client is Nikki Fife, a woman recently released from prison after an 8-year stretch for the murder of her husband, the lawyer Laurence Fife. Nikki wants to engage Kinsey to prove her innocence from the charge of her husband's murder, even though she has served her sentence now. Laurence, never one for the quiet life, seems to have picked up a many and varied list of people who potentially might have killed him and Kinsey wastes no time in tracking down his first wife, her children and ex-employees of Laurence, some of with whom he had affairs. She also comes across Laurence's ex-partner the handsome lawyer Charlie Scorsoni, with whom she is more than a little taken.
The quest for the truth takes Kinsey on some crazy back and forth drives to Los Angeles and onto Las Vegas, and ultimately ends with a frantic chase across the beach and some tragic happenings.
The plot is rather complex, or at least I found it so, and it's quite hard to keep track of the different characters. That said, it's never boring and any dedicated reader will whip through the rather short book in a couple of sittings.
It's the Kinsey character that is the most engaging factor in the books. She is crafty and cunning, but also honest and with pretence. She appeals to both men and women and her adventures are great fun to follow.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 1999
My first Sue Grafton was read almost by accident. K is for Killer was given away free with a magazine last year. I enjoyed it enough to go back to the start of the alphabet and attempt to read the full set.
Ms Grafton apparently decided to write after her second divorce. She wanted to kill her ex-husband but knew she'd get caught, so she wrote it instead, and she did a pretty good job. Her heroine, Kinsey Millhone, is coincidentally twice divorced and is the owner and sole employee of her own PI firm, and for some bizarre reason she lives in a garage.
Essentially its a standard detective novel. You know basically what's going to happen, but the fun is in getting there, and trying to figure our 'who done it' along the way. It's never going to win any literary prizes, but it makes good reading, without requiring too much thought. It's lightweight in both physical and mental terms, perfect for sticking in your bag and reading on the beach. I'd thoroughly recommend it and am now off to find out what B is for...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 November 2011
I've seen Sue Graftons alphabet books for a while as a fan of mystery books and have hesitated before buying them. When this one was on offer on Kindle I thought I'd give it a try. Mainly I found the book an easy read, although there were times when I found myself drifting off, as another reviewer puts it, the character interviews someone, goes running, interviews someone else, goes running. It was during the non interview parts I found the book a little hard going. However I couldn't stop reading because I had to know who done it. Even though I guessed who it was, I didn't feel let down or that it was too obvisous. It's not bad for a first novel in a series, opens up the character but doesn't explore too much. Had this been a one off book it would have probably got 3 stars but as I know it's a series and the character will be developed in later books I've given it an extra star.

I certainly will look forward to reading the next book :-)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2010
Let me save you some time. Kinsey Millhone goes to location X and asks person Y some questions. Then she goes jogging. When she returns to her motel she bemoans the fact that the case is going nowhere. This is repeated about 60 times and then the book ends without the reader being troubled by anything exciting. Well, there is the occasional introduction of a California Fidelity insurance fraud subplot but this is v. dull and ultimately goes nowhere - this book in microcosm.

The depictions of sex (although the tough, twice-divorced PI insists that it is 'making love') are, frankly, embarrassing: 'He did things to me I've only read about in books.' I am sure there are other cringeworthy examples. My mind has blanked them out for now.

Ultimately, A is for 'Advice', 'Avoid', 'A better option would be watching paint dry' and 'All that time I spent reading this book to the end - I want it back!'
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This is not as dark and thrilling as her later books, but still worth a read. I like the fact that she deals with the complexities of human emotions as much as the bang, bang you're dead aspects of murder books. I also enjoy Kinsey's sometimes ineptitude and human failings that mean that every case doesn't always end as satisfactorily as it could.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Kinsey Millhone is a 32 year old, twice divorced, Californian PI. Her latest client is Nikki Fife, second wife of a successful divorce attorney, who was sent to prison eight years ago for his murder. Now she is out and wants Kinsey to find out who was really guilty. The trail may have gone cold, but the small town of Santa Teresa, described as a 'haven for the rich', still has answers.

This is a competent, well written start to a long running series. Kinsey is a likeable and capable heroine and there is a good cast of suspects, plus storylines which are interesting without being confusing. Laurence Fife seems to have made a fair amount of enemies, but none of the charactes are stereotypical and the author is careful to avoid you having people you are unable to care about. Overall, this is a promising start to a series I have long meant to read and I am sure I will not stop at the first letter of the alphabet.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 19 May 2007
I finally decided to start the alphabet series after having A is for Alibi sitting on my shelf since the beginning of this year. I did enjoy this book and I really liked the character of Kinsey Millhone. However I feel I was expecting too much from this and was therefore slightly dissapointed.
I gave this book 3 stars as I did enjoy it, but I was not blown away. I shall eventually get around to continue reading the alphabet series, but there are alot more books on my shelf that I plan to read first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2011
I got this for my Kindle and had never read this type of book before so wasn't sure what to expect. I started it while on holiday so was dipping in and out of it over a few days. The characters were uncomplicated and it was easy to keep up with who everyone was and what was going on.

An interesting read which has just the right amount of plot to keep you reading although as it was written some time ago you can't help thinking "if only she had a mobile phone!" what did we ever do without them.

When I finished this I moved straight on to the next book in the alphabet series, I liked the style of writing it had just the right amount of description without you forgetting what the character was doing in the first place. I've just started F is for Fugitive and I will probably work my way through to the current one V is for Vendetta.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 29 April 2010
In a hark back to old school detective stories, Sue Grafton creates a paper thin detective to solve a murder. There are the classic hallmarks of misdirection, the alluring suspects and a client framed for a murder they did not commit. In a reworking of the old genre it seems originality is not required and the aura of suspense is missing entirely. The first half is utterly devoid of action, offering scant intrigue and padded with descriptive narrative about the locations Kinsey, the heroine, finds herself trawling around. Detective fiction has moved on with the cultural shifts, with Patterson, Sandford, et al upping the ante. It seems Grafton is aiming this series at those reminiscing to days gone by and as such some readers may be disappointed by what seems to be a hugely popular crime series.
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