For a writer to call her first novel A is for Alibi is to set herself a daunting prospect. But the former Hollywood scriptwriter has made it to M is for Malice with no signs of flagging, of losing interest in the appealing Californian private eye Kinsey Millhone. Grafton’s novels are based in the fictional coastal town of Santa Teresa, a thinly disguised Santa Barbara, and feature a wide range of crimes and misdemeanours, from the white-collar fraud to porn rackets. The engagingly feisty Kinsey in an almost pathological loner who admits people to her life grudgingly. Her independence gives the books much of their identity and Grafton never falters in transmitting Kinsey’s coolly distinctive tones to her readers, who have grown familiar over the years with her Volkswagen Beetle, her single black dress, and her peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.
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