Thirteen may not be a lucky number for many people, but it must be for Sue Grafton.
Her thirteenth Kinsey Millhone mystery, M IS FOR MALICE, is one of the best of her private investigator whodunits. Starting with A IS FOR ALIBI, Grafton is working her way through the alphabet full of titles. This is the thirteenth letter, and she's in full force.
As with her previous novels, Grafton successfully weaves Kinsey's life into the case she's investigating. Her former lover and a handful of new cousins show up --- and a touch of depression has set in for Kinsey. Despite these new emotional entanglements, Kinsey remains the loveable, cantankerous crab Grafton fans have come to love.
You might think she needs a new sweater and a good, home-cooked meal, but Kinsey's intuitive observations and wily mind make her one of the most intriguing PI's in fiction today. She's certainly the woman I would want for the job.
In M IS FOR MALICE, Kinsey is hired to track down the long lost fourth brother (Guy) of the Malek family. Dad has died, and each brother stands to inherit several million dollars --- or so says the only will they've found. The other three brothers don't believe their dad intended to leave Guy anything since dear old dad kicked the hard-to-handle Guy out of the house 18 years earlier with a piddling pay off. Kinsey finds Guy pretty easily --- and he's completely cured of drinking and drugging; he's found God and become a born-again Christian in a small town where he works as a handyman.
Guy returns home to a not so welcoming homecoming. There's a lot of money involved. But would someone really murder for it? The evidence seems to say yes. But as any Grafton fan knows, there's a lot more to her carefully constructed motives for murder than meets the eye.
Reading a mystery for me is like doing a puzzle --- when will the pieces fit together? Grafton's M puzzled me so much I was convinced I'd figured out who was going to do the murder before it even happened! I even told a friend I feared that Grafton had lost her touch because I was convinced I knew the outcome before 75 pages had flipped by.
Was I ever wrong!
Grafton's touch is stronger than ever in M IS FOR MALICE. I was relieved to feel stupid for my conceit when I reached the end and learned the true motive.
And is it ever malicious.
Reviewed by Jennifer Levitsky on January 22, 2011