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Publisher's Summary

Dr. Dowan Purcell had been missing for nine weeks when Kinsey got a call asking her to take on the case. A specialist in geriatric medicine, Purcell was a prominent member of the Santa Theresa medical community, and the police had done a thorough job. Purcell had no known enemies and seemed content with his life. At the time of his disappearance, he was running a nursing care facility where both the staff and the patients loved him. He adored his second wife, Crystal, and doted on their two-year-old son.

It wasn't Crystal who called Kinsey. It was Purcell's ex-wife, Fiona. Everything about their meeting made Kinsey uneasy. Fiona's manner was high-handed and her expectations unrealistic. Kinsey's instincts told her to refuse the job, yet she ended up saying, "I'll do what I can, but I make no promises." It was a decision she'd live to regret.

Pursuing the mysterious disappearance of Purcell, Kinsey crashes into a wall of speculation. It seems everyone has a theory. The cops think he went on a bender and is too ashamed to come home. Fiona is sure he ran off to get away from Crystal, and Crystal is just as sure he's dead. The staff at the nursing home is convinced he's been kidnapped, and one of his daughters, having consulted a psychic, is certain that he's trapped in a dark place, though she doesn't know where. Kinsey is awash in explanations and sorely lacking in facts. Then pure chance leads her in another direction, and she soon finds herself in a dangerous shadow land, where duplicity and double-dealing are the reality and, with the truth glinting elusively out of reach, she must stake her life on a thin thread of intuition.

Don't miss the other titles in the Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mystery Series.
©2001 by Sue Grafton (P)2001 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Unlike many detective series, Grafton's seems only to get better each time out." (Entertainment Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Unabridged all the way!

In a Sue Grafton, nothing is irrelevant! I love what Judy Kaye does with the character's voice and tone. This was a great read.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Bill
  • Kailua Kona, HI, United States
  • 09-10-12

Grafton Continues to Shine ~ A Creditworthy Peril

The second half of the alphabet seems to be Sue Grafton's friend. The series faithful have watched her skills and her characters develop and Peril continues this creditworthy trend.

Gone is the formulaic "Respectfully Submitted By" conclusion. Gone are many of the unnecessarily snarky Kinsey-isms. And gone are the predictable plots and stagnant characters. The faithful endured all that in the early books. Now is the pay off.

Kinsey is MUCH more rounded. Her emotions and actions more understandable. Her skepticism and irony much more realistic and appropriate, no longer overdone or superfluous. And even her more off-putting revelations (did we really need to know her panties were warm and damp at one point) are believably Kinsey-ish.

Secondary characters are better drawn, more fully developed, less predictable and much more realistic. They "could" be real people ~ they have character flaws and idiosyncrasies and often behave just a little unexpectedly. Once revealed, their motives make more sense and are not simple devices to get us to the end of the story, as has sometimes been the case in this series.

This is an easy, diverting listen, well narrated. We aren't talking Dickens or Twain here, but you don't expect that from Sue and Kinsey. You expect an interesting escape and with Peril, you have a fine one.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • jean
  • NORTH HAMPTON, NH, United States
  • 08-19-12

not bad

I had not read a sue grafton novel in a while. This was fairly entertaining. At times the story was slow and counts too much on coincidence

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • DALE CITY, VA, United States
  • 04-28-10

Good Read

I liked the storyliness and Kinsey's sense of humor. My only complaint would be that it ended abruptly. Not sure if it was the way it downloaded or the actual story. Usually her novels have an epilogue which finishes things up.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tony
  • Colorado Springs, CO, USA
  • 03-09-03

Have to love unabridged

Personally, I much prefer unabridged audio versions. While the previous reviewer felt there was 'too much dialogue', in my opinion, the dialogue or commentary is what provides a feel of or connection with Ms. Milhone. If you're just wanting an overview of the alphabet series, there are a number of abridged versions that might be better suited for you. But once you really get involved with the series, you're going to want the unabridged.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Allison
  • Huntsville, AL, United States
  • 05-18-16


I didn't like how this book ended. She didn't wrap it up clearly and neatly. The main investigation is left just hanging open.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good Book

I've listened to all of Grafton's stories. I really like listening to them. It is like visiting old friends. As you follow the mystery you can see how everyone is getting along.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Anne
  • perth, Australia
  • 07-04-04

p is for peril

I really enjoyed sue's book ..she has a sense of humor, and her characters are so real. Hope audible get more of her books. made the driving time go quick. Waiting for more of sue grafton .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Perhaps I missed something after reading the other reviews. I did not like this book. I thought the story was flat and did not flow smoothly. Other than some moments with the brothers, there were not any moments of excitement or eager anticipation.

I easily could have put this book down and forgotten about it. The final straw was the ending. I do not want to spoil anything for those that want to listen to the book so I will simply say that I thought they forgot to record a chapter at the end of the book.

I not only thought the book to be disappointing but I felt cheated by purchasing a book by a well-known accomplished author only to be provided with a transcript seemingly written by an aspiring literary student. The leading character is a professional private detective is it credible that she does not have a cellular telephone? Or, being the object of criminal intent, is it believable that the perpetrator would simply leave? I think NOT!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good listening

I listen to books while traveling and this one made the miles fly by. Waiting patiently for "R" to come up as have already heard "Q". I get them as soon as Audible has them....

1 of 1 people found this review helpful