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L Is for Lawless
on 23 April 2006
I think that out of all of the Kinsey Milhone Alphabet Mystery books that I have read, and than includes ones that come after this one in the series, "L is for Lawless" remains as one of my personal favourites. The mix of puzzling mystery, thrilling danger and almost slapstick comedy makes for a real page turner of a book.
Kinsey is settling down to a quiet couple of days before the Thanksgiving holidays. Apart from the fact that it is a public holiday, her landlord Henry Pitt's brother, William is getting married to Kinsey's local restaurateur Rosie. It promises to be quite something of a wedding as Henry's other octogenarian siblings (and even nonagenarian siblings) have made the journey to be at the wedding and Kinsey herself is to be a bridesmaid.
As a favour Henry asks Kinsey to help out a neighbour of theirs, Bucky Lee whose grandfather has just died. The family, consisting of Bucky's wife Babe and his father Chester think that Grandfather Johnny was a war veteran and should be eligible for a war veteran's burial allowance. When the military deny that Johnny was ever a serviceman the family are suspicious and suspect that someone or something is being covered up. One of Johnny's supposedly old service colleagues Ray Rawson has also turned up on the scene and when he is beaten up and a burglary takes place at Bucky's it really does seem like something is going on.
Kinsey, ever the all action heroine, manages to follow one of the burglars and the trail takes her on a flight to Dallas where she has to hole up in a very dodgy looking mock-medieval castle hotel to try to find out the story behind the crime. Needless to say things aren't what they seem and when Kinsey gets to the bottom of Johnny's past she discovers that Ray isn't the ex-service friend he made out.
As I say I really do like this book for the exciting roller coaster ride that Kinsey has to take across the states to discover the various goings on and the range of characters she meets on the way are similarly engaging. I especially liked Ray's mother Helen who really was Hell on Wheels!
The book also has the nice story about Henry's brother's wedding in the background and I especially liked the twist when Kinsey who had so fervently rejected her newly found cousin's approaches in the beginning of the book has to eat more than a little humble pie when she really needs help. A slight disappointment that the book, like a lot of the Alphabet series it must be said, is wrapped up in a lightening fast final chapter when a little more detail on the various thread closures would be appreciated. Still a brilliant addition to the series.