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Publisher's Summary

When Laurence Fife was murdered, few mourned his passing. Plenty of people had reason to want him dead. But the police thought his wife Nikki , with motive, access and opportunity, was the #1 suspect. The jury thought so too.

Eight years later and out on parole, Nikki hires Kinsey Millhone, a gutsy P.I., to find the real killer. The trail is cold, but Kinsey finds a lead that brings her face-to-face with the murderer!

This is the first in the popular series featuring California investigator Kinsey Millhone. She's 32, twice divorced, no kids, an ex-cop who likes her work...and who works strictly alone!

Don't miss the other titles in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mystery Series.
©1982 Sue Grafton; (P)1993 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"Grafton has created a woman we feel we know, a tough cookie with a soft center, a gregarious loner....Smart, well-paced and very funny." (Newsweek)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    259
  • 2 Stars
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    78

Story

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Gene
  • Agoura Hills, CA, USA
  • 11-13-05

Poorly Narrated

The narrator is no Judy Kaye. I am going to make my way thru the alphabet series on Audible as I already have in print, so this is my starting point, though I have already listened to other books in the series. This book is instructive because it shows how subtle things can trash a reading. Much of the dialog is very wooden and doesn't flow the way a real conversation does. This is very distracting and makes it difficult to focus on the plot. I love Grafton, which is really the only thing that keeps me going.

33 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Vintage Kinsey. Literally.

The first in the series -- obviously -- and arguably just as good as Grafton's last books, which is the unique thing about Sue Grafton. Her books -- and her character -- deal with more complex topics as they go along, they get longer, we learn more about Kinsey's background, but in terms of providing a thoroughly satisfying mystery, the first is as good as the last.

This one wasn't read by Judy Kaye, which marks one difference -- Kaye has become, at least in my mind, the voice of Kinsey Millhone. But Peiffer does a fine job. No complaints.

A is for Alibi also kicks off one of Kinsey's more unpleasant characteristics -- as least for me: her dislike of dogs and animals in general, but more specifically dogs. That issue gets modified a bit as the books proceed and somewhere in the alphabet Kinsey finds herself getting attached to a cat. But there were many times in this book I found myself cringing at the Kinsey's dislike for - and mistreatment of, when she gets the chance -- animals. I guess it fits her tough-girl character, but I, for one, would appreciate her working out her angst on humans, not animals.

But all in all, a good listen. Having first read this book a couple of years after it came out in 1982, then again a decade later, then listened to it for the first time in 2011 and again just now, 2015, I have few doubts that sooner or later I'll listen to it again. The problem is, there just aren't enough Kinsey books available -- and good grief! What will we do after "Z is for ???" is published.

Now there's a frightening proposition.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bill
  • Kailua Kona, HI, United States
  • 06-06-12

Easy Escapist Mystery

No heavy lifting here for a reader. Just an engaging, brief-ish mystery that serves as an able introduction to the then-new PI. The only "problem" listening to this, and many future Grafton mysteries, is that the author introduces many characters and does not provide the "cues" other authors do to help readers keep them straight.

The weakest aspect of this audiobook is the narrator who mispronounces several reasonably common words (e.g., covert). This has an unfortunately jarring effect on the narrative.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michelle
  • Margate, FL, United States
  • 07-18-10

snore

It took a while for the book to hold my attention. It bored me and I looked forward to the ending more to be done with it than to find out what happened. The characters were skin deep at best and not really believable. Aside from the story line, part of the problem was the narrator. She is awful!!!!

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Comparing narrators

Sue Grafton's hero, Kinsey Millhone, is wonderfully presented, as are all her characters. There is a pervading sense of fun mingled with human compassion throughout. Kinsey's qualities of irony and self deprecation are dynamically conveyed through delightful similes and asides.


Grafton's titles work through the alphabet, and have now reached U. Unfortunately Audible has only released unabridged versions of 6 of this series. But Grafton is a writer to be savored and enjoyed, not edited.

And talking of enjoying, the reading of Grafton's books illustrates what all Audible members know: that the narration has a strong impact. In the Audible unabridged selection, Grafton's books are narrated by Judy Kaye and Mary Peiffer. For me, Peiffer effortlessly draws out the colour, fun and sense of ease and enjoyment Grafton exudes, while Kaye, although a very professional reader, bypasses these important qualities

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

No More for Me

I usually look so forward to my long drives and the Audible books that I get to listen to along the way. This book was chosen by my book club so I must finish it, otherwise I would not. I dread listening to it and cannot wait to be finished with it. The plot is boring. I am not at all interested in finding out "who dunnit." Even worse than the book itself is the narrator. Her male voices sound ridiculous and some of the female voices sound like a female trying to sound male - very off-putting. At times, she has lengthy pauses at very odd places in the story. At other times, she ends a sentence or a chapter in a way that makes the listener think that she has not read the end of the sentence. I will avoid this reader and this author in the future.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Cindy
  • Selma, AL, USA
  • 12-30-05

Great Book

I was always hearing how great these books were, last week after litening to This is Audible and the author's interview, I tried the first 4 in the series. I'm hooked. I can highly recomend.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Painful

This was my first and my last Sue Grafton novel. Her writing was amateurish and her characters 2 dimensional and stupid. The plot was painfully predictable. Her main character never really told the story, but outlined steps and frequently talked about herself in the 3rd person rather than the 1st person (the story was being told, or attempting to be told in 1st person voice). I would characterize this book as a dime store novel. Do not waste your time with this book, and if this book is typical of her writing, I would avoid the author as well. It would take me far too long to describe how awful this book was with all of its cliche's, plot holes, and anti-climatic events. I was thrilled when the book was done. I guess my first clue should have been that the abridged version was taken down to 2 ish hours where the original was around 8. Any book that can shrink that much doesn't have much in it.

20 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • lynda
  • NASHVILLE, TN, United States
  • 02-16-11

great listen

i enjoyed listening to this book--didn't figure out the culprit until right at the end--i would recommend it highly

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carol
  • Helena, AL, USA
  • 05-29-06

Wonderful!

Fabulous! I love it! Can't wait to get to B, C, D, E.....etc.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Sta
  • 07-26-16

Good read

Great book but ends a little abruptly. Could make the ending more detailed and finished.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful