I love a good murder mystery filled with lots of suspects, red herrings, and satisfying twists. Sue Grafton, who passed away in 2017, is famously known for her novels whose titles each start with a letter of the alphabet. Since the COVID pandemic started, I’ve been checking out new authors and have always wanted to read one of Grafton’s novels. Figuring the best place to start is at the beginning, I recently read A Is for Alibi.
This detective series features private detective Kinsey Millhone who lives in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. She is tenacious, funny, and has a healthy libido. A Is for Alibi’s premise is that the 30-something Millhone is investigating the death of prominent divorce lawyer Laurence Fife. His murder eight years earlier was blamed on his wife.
Upon being released from prison, Mrs. Fife hires Kinsey to find the real murderer. Soon, there’s another murder and Millhone finds herself getting dangerously close to a killer who has no remorse. Grafton created an intricate story with well-crafted characters, a likable heroine, and several surprising plot twists.
What I love even more than this excellent book’s plot is its backstory. The method of murder, by substituting the contents of an antihistamine tablet with crushed oleander, means that an alibi held no value because the contents of the tablet could have been switched a considerable time earlier than when the victim actually swallowed the tablet. Grafton says that she conceived aspects of the plot through her own “fantasies” of murdering her then-husband while going through a divorce. Talk about fabulously evil.
I highly recommend this book for fans of mystery and detective novels. I am excited about moving onto her next book in the series B is for Burglar. Before her death, Grafton was able to complete all the letters except Z. Who knows maybe someone will finish her workup. For more information on Grafton and her books, go to www.suegrafton.com.