Grafton, Sue. A is for Alibi. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 1982.
Reviewed by J. d’Artagnan Love
A is for Alibi is the first book in the “alphabet series” of mystery novels written by Sue Grafton. The main character is Kinsey Milhone, a private detective living in Santa Teresa, a town that is a thinly veiled fictionalized Santa Barbara. Kinsey is approached by Nicki who has just finished her prison sentence for begin convicted of murdering her husband by poising him with oleander. Nicki wants her name cleared and hires Kinsey to do just that.
The pace of A is for Alibi was a bit plodding. Very little happened for quite a long time until the end when everything crashed together at once. While I can’t claim that this was a literary masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, I liked Kinsey just enough to be curious about reading the next book. One of my favorite mystery writers is Tess Gerritsen. I especially like her “Rizzoli and Isles” series, but her first book in the series was pretty terrible. I feel like it might be the same case with Grafton’s series. The first book was underwhelming, but I’m willing to give the next a try.
The one thing I did love about the book was the way in which readers really got an up-close-and-personal picture of Kinsey’s day-to-day life. I admit to having some voyeuristic tendencies, nothing freaky or weird, but I have always been insatiably curious about how people move through life from one day to the next. I’m not necessarily interested in extremes or scandals but I find people’s regular choices fascinating. What does this person wear and why? When do they eat breakfast? How much sleep do they get? How much time do they spend doing X, Y, Z? This book satisfied that voyeuristic curiosity a bit by taking readers through the minutiae of Kinsey’s day. We get to know what she eats, what she wears, how often she sleeps, how she spends her free time, etc. This would drive some readers absolutely nuts but I really liked it…because I’m odd.
Overall, this book gets a two rating, but as I said before, I’d give a lot of first books in a series a two rating, so I still have a lot of hope for this series.
2 darts out of 5
This book is FOR: people who are ok with slow moving mysteries.
This book is NOT FOR: people looking for fast-paced, suspenseful reading.