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Sue Grafton had a long writing career beginning with television screenplays then transitioned to mysteries with Kinsey Millhone as the gumshoe. Her Alphabet series, beginning with “A is for Alibi,” was told from the standpoint of the former insurance company investigator turned private eye in Santa Teresa, California, standing in for Grafton’s own Santa Barbara. Kinsey is the self-sufficient single woman, jeans and turtleneck kind of gal, who doggedly follows the clues, cracking wise along the way. The secondary characters, such as her neighbor/landlord and eccentric extended family, the various ex-boyfriends, and a back story weave their way through all the books giving them a strong continuity. It is hard to believe that when she published her first mystery in 1982 the idea of a female detective was something of a novelty.

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Andrea Ibanez Kress ()


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