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4.3 out of 5 stars52
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2001
As a big fan of the alphabet books I was really looking forward to this, the latest installment. All of the books up till now have been very enjoyable and, if anything, have been getting better and better. P is for Peril was, however, a huge let-down. There are 2 plot lines involved. The secondary story involves two brothers who Kinsey has rented new premises from. It turns out that they have a murky past which Kinsey gets involved with. This plotline is really weak, does not fit with the rest of the book and justs seems like an add-on, a way of getting Kinsey into a dangerous situation at the end of the book. The main plotline is just as bad. It involves the disappearance of a doctor. I wouldn't like to give the plot away but in this case I couldn't if I tried because I'm not really sure what did happen - who did what and why certainly eluded me. If you've read all of the others in the series then you'll want to read this anyway. Otherwise I'd suggest waiting for 'Q' to appear next year.
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on 16 July 2001
I have always enjoyed this series of books but found this last P is for Peril a little flat. I found the plot weak and the characters that I always enjoy normally lacking.
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on 3 July 2001
Maybe it was reading it in hardback, maybe it was because I had been anticipating this book for months now, or maybe it just wasn't up to scratch...but something about the latest Sue Grafton seemed a little lacking when I read it last week.
As the 16th letter in the alphabet, P for Peril gives us the 16th Kinsey Millhone crime novel from Grafton, and maybe she's beginning to run out of ideas. Although there may be a masterplan I'm not aware of, or Grafton's ideas for her main character are at odds with my mental image of her, I can't help my disappointment.
First off, what's with this giving Dietz a back seat yet again? Yes, Kinsey has commitment problems, yes, her thing is solving mysteries not getting married, but her inability to have a fulfilling romantic relationship should not be mutually inexclusive with her work. Maybe her on-off-on-off lover was out of the picture in order to enable the shifty Tommy to attempt to win Kinsey's affections, part of a poor plot device, but it's getting wearing.
Oh, that brings me quickly onto the poor plot! It's the first time I've ever raced ahead of Kinsey - what is happening to her? Anyone could see (without wanting to give away the plot) a) what relationship was key in telling us how the Dr disappeared, and b) that you just don't put your trust in insurance investigators without investigating them thoroughly first. What is happening to the Millhone magic? Why has she suddenly gone dumb?
Also, it's beginning to irk that it's still 1983. Yes, Grafton may introduce sly details to remind us it's the proto-computer age, but it's boring that everything's so damn 80s without any other pop-culture references whatsoever. Even Kinsey's hair and dress never change - things are getting dull and in need of a shake-up. That's the problem with a long series I guess - if this was TV turnover the 'new series' would begin after so many episodes allowing the main character to undergo a subtle transformation at least. But not the alphabet thrillers. Before I opened this book I felt myself wishing that Kinsey at least was made to take care of a dog and bonded with it, thus propelling her on a trajectory enabling her to spend more of her space, time and heart with someone. But no - in the book, she defiantly riles against the very same idea. It's not that I want her to suddenly settle down and breed - the character has until now proved good at her job! - but it's simply that the situation is stultifying. All of Grafton's characters can so easily write themselves, yet their mannerisms and personalities are becoming old news - they need livening up. OK, being on the 19th of (presumably) 26 books might mean we'll see our heroine living happily ever after by Z, but I for one can't wait that long.
The plots are thin, the red herrings transparent, the clues writ large. I for one found P for Peril disappointing and shan't be putting in an advance purchase order for the next Grafton novel. (I'll wait till it comes out in paperback.)
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on 2 December 2001
It is not uncommon for writers of detective stories to go off the rails from time to time - I'm thinking, for example, of some of the wilder excursions into other genres of Sarah Paretsky and P. D. James - but I thought Sue Grafton was too sensible for that kind of thing.

But no! Ms Grafton, who refuses her heroine the luxury of a computer or a mobile phone (too easy), has indulged herself with that scourge of the modern novel, the tricksy unresolved ending. I truly thought I had bought a dud copy of the book, with the last few pages missing, until I looked at the reader reviews and realised that nobody had them.

"P is for Peril" is as skillfully crafted and well written as any of the alphabet series, except that we're left guessing at the end about what actually happened. But we want to KNOW!! Readers of detective stories want closure, resolution, neat endings - all that kind of thing. That's one of the reasons they read detective stories. Cliff-hanger endings are great in their place, Ms Grafton, (at the end of chapters) but NOT at the end of the book. I beg Ms Grafton never to do this to us again, and Kinsey Millhone to sign off with her usual "Respectfully submitted, Kinsey Millhone" from now to the end of the alphabet (even if she hasn't been paid her full fee!). If Sue Grafton had started like this, she would never have got beyond A.

For this devoted fan of Kinsey Millhone and Sue Grafton, "P is for Profound Disappointment".
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on 18 June 2013
Like many other people I was very disappointed at the end of this book. It did not include Sue Grafton's usual signing off "respectfully submitted " and as there 40 blank pages at the end I felt there was a misprint. Having already read similar reviews I am rather sceptical of PanMacMillan's assertion that there is no miss-print and that was how the book finished.
Has anyone read a hardback or kindle that can confirm there should be an extra 40 pages ( total 554 )please ?
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I enjoy the Alphabet novels, but this one struck me as a bit flabby, and I went back and checked. Sure enough, A Is For Alibi ran to 368 pages, which was about right, but this manages to stretch things out for 513, which is about a hundred too many. I noticed that every time Kinsey climbs into her car we're exposed to a detailed account of her journey, and every new house she visits receives a detailed description. This adds nothing to the plot, but slows down the action. I can only surmise that Sue Grafton's publishers have prevailed on her to increase the size of the book. But for whatever reason, she'd be well advised to cut out the padding, and revert to writing crisp plots, as she used to.
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on 17 March 2013
I wasn't fussed about the last book so gave the series a rest for a bit. I liked the slightly altered format - fewer scenic descriptions of endless freeway journeys to and from the client. And I really didn't mind the missing sign off while Kinsey waited for justice to arrive. I shall plough through the rest of the alphabet in due course
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on 17 May 2013
I am running out of things to say. I have enjoyed all of the books A to V. I am not particularly interested in descriptions of journeys, landscapes, houses etc., but the stories are rattling good tales. I like the device of the quick ending and the ensuing epilogue.
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on 9 February 2015
Like all the other reviewers I found myself shaking my kindle and thinking it'd gone wrong - where was the solution - left me hanging on the edge rustling through to R for Richochet thinking it would follow on. Unfortunately I was wrong. What a let down.
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on 31 January 2012
Another enthralling read from Sue Grafton, Kinsey has become a close friend with whom we share all the trills, highs and lows of life, living with her as she gets involved with intrigue deception and murder, as well as her rather complicated private life.
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