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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series
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...
Published on 18 Mar. 2008 by Dr Evil

versus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A is for... Average
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...
Published on 19 May 2007 by molko


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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good start to the series, 18 Mar. 2008
By 
Dr Evil (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Is for Alibi, 11 Sept. 2005
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A is for... Average, 19 May 2007
By 
molko (Surrey) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's mindless trash, but I love it, 9 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable psychological thriller, 16 Nov. 2000
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not sure I'm going to make it to B., 16 Mar. 2010
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A is for Alibi, 19 Jun. 2012
By 
S Riaz "S Riaz" (England) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not quite 5 stars, 19 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that can't be put down and continually surprizes., 17 Aug. 1997
By A Customer
As an introduction to Sue Grafton's writing "A is for Alibi" has kept me coming back again and again. Kinsey Millhone (the heroine) is definitely a character on a very understandable level. Sue Grafton paints everything in such a way to give the reader enough info to make a good mental picture but not too much so that one feels bogged down. I found myself almost holding my breath during some of the climactic moments. The story had so many unexpected twists that I found the book hard to put down. This was definitely a book that put mysterys back on my list of books to read. It is also a much read for anyone who has never read a book with a female detective, a concept which brings a whole new perspective to crime.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A is for above average!, 14 Jun. 2013
By 
col2910 (Bedfordshire,UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Is for Alibi (Paperback)
Synopsis/blurb........

`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 . . . `Skilful and ingenious' Irish Times `I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone novels . . . you are never disappointed' Guardian `Will keep you awake until the last page has been turned' Daily Mail

Well having admonished myself for ignoring the female crime writing fraternity for not months, in truth years, I have decided to address that deficiency in my reading. As an aside, I was once browsing a second hand book store and picked up a book - Bleedout - authored by I thought John Brady, on closer examination it was actually written by Joan Brady............so I put it back, why? I can't really explain. Any way glossing over that example of blatant sexism, we return to Sue Grafton and the first in her Alphabet series starring Kinsey Millhone.

Kinsey is hired by Nikki Fife to uncover who killed her adulterous husband, Laurence. Nikki having just been released from prison after serving eight years for the murder professes her innocence and wants Millhone to dig into the past.

Having had a passing acquaintance with the dead Laurence and a vague recollection of his murder, Kinsey starts looking over the original investigation, discovering there was a second fatality exactly like Fife's death a short period afterwards. Libby Glass, an accountant who crossed paths with Laurence Fife was poisoned in exactly the same way as the lawyer, though her client was never charged.

Kinsey backtracks into Fife's personal and business relationships as well as looking at Libby Glass' surviving family believing that there is an obvious link between the two crimes. Gwen, who was Fife's first wife and Charlie Scorsoni, Fife's friend and former business partner are obvious avenues for information as well as Fife's children with Gwen and one of his rumoured sexual partners who may have held something over him judging by her attitude towards him in the workplace; Sharon Napier.

Fast forward to page 345, a longish book for a first novel and Grafton brings Millhone's first highlighted investigation to a satisfying conclusion.

And the verdict was........ interesting and enjoyable, albeit a little bit different from the male PIs I have been reading a lot of lately. Whilst Matthew Scudder and Elvis Cole can on occasion be drawn into physical violence and their authors can engage the readers with a bout of fisticuffs, this approach is never really going to work for Kinsey, particularly as Grafton has not gifted her a skill-set involving the martial arts. Instead Millhone uses intelligence, tenacity and a logical approach to her sleuthing. When the inevitable confrontations arise, she doesn't lack for bravery.

I didn't really feel a great warmth or affection for our heroine, as yet. I was probably more of an interested bystander watching Millhone's enquiry progress. Kinsey has a past, with two failed marriages behind her. She lives economically in a small apartment, with apparently no close friends or family. She enjoys sex and alcohol when it's available, but has no addiction or issues with either. She appears to be alone without being lonely. Definitely someone I would like to read more about, particularly in the hope of discovering more about her past. I'll be back at some point with B, then probably C and maybe D, but not straight away.

4 stars from 5

I picked up my copy by swapping on the Readitswapit website in exchange for something else.

I do anticipate reading further female written fiction this month. Go me!
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A is for Alibi: A Kinsey Millhone Mystery (Kinsey Millhone Mystery 1)
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