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B Is for Burglar
on 27 September 2005
The one great thing about the alphabet series of Kinsey Milhone thrillers is that you always know where you are in the series, so with this being "B is for Burglar" this must be the second book and it takes place only a couple of weeks after the dramatic ending of the first book.
Kinsey has been hired again, this time by Beverly Danziger who is trying to locate her sister, Elaine Boldt, so that the contents of a family will can be shared out. Elaine, who lives in a high-class condominium is Santa Teresa, was last seen taking a taxi to the airport to fly out to her other property in Florida. Kinsey is soon on the trail, talking to Elaine's neighbours in Santa Teresa as well as flying down to Florida to chat to the neighbours down there. The case gets slightly more complicated when Beverly decides that she doesn't want Kinsey to file a missing persons report with the police, Kinsey feeling that this legitimate line of enquiry shouldn't be closed off, terminates her contract with Beverly, only to have Elaine's elderly neighbour in Florida hire her instead. Convinced that there is foul play involved rather than the possibility that Elaine has simply taken a holiday, Kinsey starts to make enquiries about the fire in a neighbouring house that killed a friend of Elaine's, Marty Grice.
This ripping page-turner of a book gains much from the introduction of several really entertaining characters to read about. Julia Ochsner, Elaine's elderly and disabled neighbour from Florida is a real pleasure, mixing girlish enthusiasm with Miss Marple like intuition. Similarly Mohawk haircut wearing punk Mike is also a hoot. Even though these characters take only a small section of the book they really do add to the quality. Introduced for the first time, and soon to reappear in other Kinsey novels are detective Jonah Robb and his ongoing problems with his estranged wife and kids. Vera the man-eater, Kinsey's former work mate at California Fidelity also appears for the first time. One final character I want to mention as it really starts to fill out the character of Kinsey's landlord, sexy octogenarian Henry Pitts, is the taxi driver Kinsey interviews who is a great fan of the crosswords Henry composes.
All in all a great thumping detective thriller, where the likeable Ms Milhone shines and entertains us again.