Kinsey and Me

Kinsey and Me

Stories

Book - 2013
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In 1982, Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone. Thirty years later, Kinsey is an established international icon and Sue, a number-one bestselling author. To mark this anniversary year, Sue has given us stories that reveal Kinsey's origins and Sue's past.
"I've come to believe that Grafton is not only the most talented woman writing crime fiction today but also that, regardless of gender, her Millhone books are among the five or six best series any American has ever written."--Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post
Kinsey and Me has two parts: The nine Kinsey stories (1986-93), each a gem of detection; and the And Me stories, written in the decade after Grafton's mother died. Together, they show just how much of Kinsey is a distillation of her creator's past even as they reveal a child who, free of parental interventions, read everything and roamed everywhere. But the dark side of such freedom was that very parental distance.
The same unique voice and witty insights readers fell in love with in A Is for Alibi permeate the Kinsey stories. Those in the And Me section trace a remarkable voyage, from anger to understanding, from pain to forgiveness. They take us into a troubled family, dysfunctional as most families are, each in their own way, but Grafton's telling is sensitive, delicate, and ultimately, loving. Enriching the way we see Kinsey and know Sue, these stories are deeply affecting.

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Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2013.
ISBN: 9780399163838
Characteristics: xvii, 286 p. ; 24 cm.

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PolyWogg
Mar 24, 2019

BOTTOM-LINE:
Kinsey is okay, Kit works well as a collection.
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PLOT OR PREMISE:
The book is a collection of two sets of stories -- the first set are Kinsey Millhone series set throughout the Alphabet series in time; the second set are about Kit Blue.
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WHAT I LIKED:
"The first part, with Kinsey Millhone, includes an introduction about how she created Kinsey (4/5), nine shortstories, and a conclusion about the history of the genre of the hard-boiled PI (3/5). The shortstories are fun to read, but there isn't much ""Kinsey"" in them. Too little time to dwell, mostly focused on ""wham bam, here's a clue, here's a solution"". One I rate at 4/5, five more at 3/5, and another three that aren't very good at all.
- Between the Sheets -- great opening where woman shows up to confess to murder she hasn't reported yet, and when she goes back, the body is gone (3/5);
- Long Gone -- missing wife, lots of kids, clues are pretty obvious (3/5);
- The Parker Shotgun -- cool premise, quick solution, fair with the clues (4/5);
- Non Sung Smoke -- Find a one-night stand, have him get killed, throw in some drugs (3/5);
- Full Circle -- Cute ending to a simple case of who killed a young woman in a horrific car accident that Kinsey witnessed (3/5); and,
- A Little Missionary Work -- Two celebrities ask for Kinsey's help with a fake kidnapping, but Kinsey reverses the con in the end (3/5).
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The second part includes an introduction about Grafton's not-so-idyllic early life, and how ""Kit Blue"" is a younger version of herself (3/5). The remaining thirteen stories work quite well as a collection of slices of Kit's life, although individually I rate one as 5/5, five as 4/5, and three as 3/5, with another four below the line:
- That's Not An Easy Way To Go -- Kit realizing she's become the mother to her alcoholic mother (4/5);
- Lost People -- Kit reflecting on her alcoholic parents, displaced from their own lives (3/5);
- Clue -- Slice of life with mother visiting and Kit's relief when she leaves (3/5);
- Night Visit, Corridor A -- Kit visiting mother in hospital (4/5);
- April 24, 1960 -- Kit dealing with news of her mother's death on Kit's birthday, and being irritated by her husband trying to comfort her (4/5);
- The Closet -- Kit cleaning out her mother's closet after she's gone and trying to figure out what it represents, if anything (4/5);
- Maple Hill -- Kit walking through an empty house saying goodbye to all of it (5/5);
- Jessie -- a housewoman talking about Kit's mother (4/5); and,
- A Letter From My Father -- Kit reading a letter and sharing her own views of their life together (3/5)."
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WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
"Three of the Kinsey stories aren't great:
- Falling Off The Roof -- A mystery book club with murder on its mind (1/5);
- A Poison That Leaves No Trace -- Quick case of a dead sister looking to know if her niece killed her mother (2/5); and,
- The Lying Game -- old trope about a liar and a truthteller, you can only ask one question (1/5).
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Four of the Kit Blue slices don't stand alone very well:
- A Woman Capable of Anything -- Kit Blue watching a sleeping alcoholic mother (1/5);
- A Portable Life -- Kit coming to terms with the past being destroyed (1/5);
- The Quarrel -- Kit listening to her father explain his new wife's behaviour (2/5); and,
- Death Review -- Kit's working in a hospital as a medical secretary, spotting glimpses of her mom in the other patients (2/5)."
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DISCLOSURE:
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media.

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mrsleuth72
Feb 14, 2019

This book was a treat. I didn't expect that Grafton would speak so frankly about her childhood and alcoholic parents. The stories were good, but the true life stuff was riveting: sad, but very gripping. I highly recommend this book.

k
karendejong
Jan 05, 2019

The alphabet mysteries. Everyone loves Sue Grafton's books.

b
bava2460
Mar 13, 2018

Through the lens of someone who was shocked and saddened at the untimely death of Sue Grafton the first half of this book gives insight into her character motivation and the parallels between her character Kinsey and Sue Grafton herself. I felt closer to the author having read this book.

d
Doris527
Sep 07, 2015

Excellent short stories about Kinsey. The short stories about the author Grafton were too depressing to be read at bedtime for me. the ones I read were good however.

e
EmilyEm
Dec 26, 2013

A series of short stories featuring Kinsey Millhone fills the first half of this book and Kit Blue?s?Sue Grafton?s own persona?memoir of growing up with alcoholic parents?a functioning father and not-so-functioning mother?comprises the second.

It was fun reading Kinsey stories in short form and interesting reading of Grafton?s early life since she believes Kinsey is much like she would have been, had early marriage and motherhood not taken her life on another path.

b
banjodog
Jun 25, 2013

I have read every one of her books and I think I like this one the best. They are short stories and the last ones are about her life growing up with two alcoholic parents. Very moving.

btmslt Apr 17, 2013

Not Grafton's best work. The Kinsey stories demonstrate a good beginning to future work, as these stories are her beginning. The Kit stories were depressing, somewhat obvious and more cathartic for the writter than enjoyable for the reader. Grafton has done much better with her alphabet series.

ehbooklover Apr 12, 2013

I loved reading the Kinsey short stories. The “and Me” part of the book was just depressing.

g
gmvasilnek
Apr 09, 2013

I'm not sure Kinsey translates well into short stories, not enough words to develop an interesting story.I didn't even finish it.

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