is series of mystery novels sometimes referred to as the 'Alphabet Mysteries', create by Sue Grafton. They follow the titular Kinsey Millhone, a private investigator in the fictional Santa Teresa, California. Reportedly: "Kinsey is 5'6" and weighs about 118 pounds. She has short, dark, thick hair that she trims with nail scissors, being generally uninterested in her physical appearance."
Each book is named for letters of the alphabet, the most recent being "W" is for Wasted
. The series began in 1982 and is still being published, though in universe only six years have passed so far. According to the author, the final book will be called "Z" is for Zero
and will take place in 1990.
Current books in the series are:
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- "A" Is for Alibi (1982)
- "B" Is for Burglar (1985)
- "C" Is for Corpse (1986)
- "D" Is for Deadbeat (1987)
- "E" Is for Evidence (1988)
- "F" Is for Fugitive (1989)
- "G" Is for Gumshoe (1990)
- "H" Is for Homicide (1991)
- "I" Is for Innocent (1992)
- "J" Is for Judgment (1993)
- "K" Is for Killer (1994)
- "L" Is for Lawless (1995)
- "M" Is for Malice (1996)
- "N" Is for Noose (1998)
- "O" Is for Outlaw (1999)
- "P" Is for Peril (2001)
- "Q" Is for Quarry (2002)
- "R" Is for Ricochet (2004)
- "S" Is for Silence (2005)
- "T" Is for Trespass (2007)
- "U" Is for Undertow (2009)
- "V" Is for Vengeance (2011)
- "W" Is for Wasted (2013)
Provides Examples Of:
- Alphabetical Theme Naming: See the list above.
- Ax-Crazy: Pat Usher/Marty Grice.
- Comic Book Time: Averted, the books still take place in the 80s despite being written in the 2000s.
- Cake Eater: Kinsey finds her eighty-year-old landlord quite sexy, and wonders whether the fifty year age difference would be a hindrance to a relationship. Lawrence Fife, the victim in "A" is for Alibi, also had a liking for older women.
- Clear My Name: Kinsey is accused of conspiring to commit insurance fraud in "E" is for Evidence and has to go about trying to exonerate herself. It's made a bit harder when California Fidelity suspends their working relationship over it.
- Cool Old Guy: Kinsey's neighbor and landlord Henry is definitely one of these.
- Costume Porn: The outfit of every character will be described every time you meet them.
- Description Porn
- Dirty Cop: Lt. Priddy from "V" is for Vengeance. It comes back to bite him in the ass when Dante, who had fled the country, throws him under the bus by having Kinsey get the former's crimes (and attempt to take over the latter's operation) exposed one way or another.
- Even Evil Has Standards: From "V" is for Vengeance, Dante is a mob boss with a code of honor.
- Fake Pregnancy: A character in "L" is for Lawless does this, hiding money inside a fake belly. Kinsey figures it out after finding tampons in the woman's purse.
- Family Theme Naming/Floral Theme Naming: The Wood family in "E" is for Evidence. The Wood women are named Ash, Ebony, and Olive, all kinds of tree/wood.
- Friend on the Force: Jonah.
- Good Is Not Nice: Kinsey, a great detective and an overall good person, does have some jerkass tendencies. Her salty mouth and her overall loner personality doesn't help.
- Karma Houdini: At the end of "V" is for Vengeance, Dante, who gains points for being a sympathetic character, flees the country with his secretary.
- Long Runners: It's been thirty years since the first book was published and the series is still going strong.
- Private Detective: Kinsey's a private investigator.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Dante from "V" is for Vengeance is this by mob standards, even agreeing to take Phillip's car to satisfy his gambling debt in the first chapter and later proving himself A Father to His Men. His brother Cappi, though, is a through-and-through nasty piece of work, double-crossing Phillip as soon as they get to the car and murdering a seasoned shoplifter who he has reason to believe will tell the police everything, among other acts of puppy-punting.
- Scenery Porn: Grafton often describes and explains the back story to different parts of the fictional Santa Teresa.
- Steel Eardrums: Averted. Kinsey is forced to shoot a man in self-defense at the end of the first book, and her ears don't stop ringing for weeks. It's later mentioned that she never gets all her hearing back. The fact that she has hiding in a metal trash can probably didn't help matters.
- The Sociopath: in T is for Trespass, the major antagonist Solana is one.
- Brian Jaffe.
- There have been arguments that suggest Kinsey displays signs of it. Her troubled personality and self righteous attitude being the worst offenders.
- The Stoic: Kinsey describes herself as one.
- Villainous Rescue: That injury Kinsey sustained to the face on her 38th birthday? That was Dante saving her life.
- Webcomic Time: Over thirty years have passed since the first book was written, but only a handful of years have passed in the books themselves.
- Your Cheating Heart: Lawrence Fife was a serial adulterer. It was what got him killed.