Kinsey is okay, Kit works well as a collection.
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.
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).
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)."
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).
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)."
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.