Sue Grafton’s X-Kinsey Millhone 24

Overview: Kinsey is handling a slow time at Millhone Investigations. But, she’s in luck. A woman needs her help in locating a child she gave up for adoption long ago. And Pete’s widow is having some trouble with the IRS. Maybe Kinsey has found her cure for boredom. Hopefully it all works out for her in the end.

Story Telling: This is a mystery novel, yet it falls under the private detective sub-genre. Kinsey’s story is almost over.

Dislikes: Pete obviously got a raw deal in the last novel. It was quite the jarring reversal of his personality.

Ned was the worst kind of dangerous. Everything he did was based on whether or not he felt rejected.

Also, Kinsey was an idiot. Even though she questioned the IRS story, neither she nor Ruthie even thought to look at the house. With Kinsey thinking that Pete was not a good man, you would have thought that Kinsey would be concerned about Pete’s enemies would come around.

Likes: Pete had honor. He was actively trying to save these women.

And Kinsey did try to help her client. Not sure that I would have, but she did.

Favorite Character: That would be Phyllis, Ned’s second wife. She managed to thrive after her divorce, to her credit.

Favorite Scene: Kinsey’s conversations with the chief investigator at the time of Lenore Lowe’s death was quite informative.

Conclusion: This was an interesting novel. Kinsey could have used her brain and wit a bit more for my tastes, but it’s still a good story.

James Patterson’s Murder, Interrupted

Overview: In this novel of true crime mysteries, we have two horrifying tales. In one, we have Frank Howard, a man who has an interesting way to solve his mistress, wife, and monetary problems. His wife just might disagree with it.

In the second tale, we have a supposedly devoted mother murdered in her own home, and her desperately ill daughter missing. What could have happened?

Story Telling: This is a true crime novel. That means, as odd as these stories may seem, they actually happened.

Dislikes: Frank Howard wasn’t a good example of a Christian. He needs a refresher course.

Also there are some things that you should never have to expect anyone to do unto another human being, much less to a loved one.

Likes: You’ve got to appreciate God’s sense of humor at times. This is evident when you see Mrs. Howard.

And many of those who were trying to help Gypsy were admirable.

Favorite Scene: That would be how Mrs. Howard greeted the police after her attack.

Conclusion: This was an interesting story. True crime can be tricky. You want to make the stories interesting however you can easily make the events unbelievable, or, worse, sympathize too much with the villains.

Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted-Kinsey Millhone 23

Overview: On the same day that Kinsey Millhone learns of the murder of a man that she ran across during her internship days, she is called to come down to the morgue. It turns out that a homeless man died in his sleeping bag, with only the number to Kinsey’s office in his pocket. Who was he? Why was he seeking out Kinsey? And is there any connection to Pete’s death?

Story Telling: This is a mystery series that takes place in the ‘80’s. Kinsey is a private detective, and is starting to wind down her series.

Dislikes: Pete was a greedy idiot. Though the real problem with his point-of-view chapters is the fact that these chapters are flashbacks in the main narrative. That’s a bit jarring.

Kinsey’s newest relatives are a piece of work. How many ways could those two act like their father was a jerk?

One more thing. Hemmingway once said something to the effect of ‘great is the art of the beginning, greater is the art of the ending.’ This idea definitely fits this story. She started off strong, the ending however, not so much.

Likes: Ellen was in a bad situation with her family. It’s as if her siblings and mother decided to cut Dace out of their lives, and hers as well.

Mary Ann was trying to help people the best way that she could. Too bad that her marriage fell apart as a result.

Favorite Character: It’s Ellen this time around.

Favorite Scene: That’s when Ellen and Kinsey met and had their conversation.

Conclusion: For the most part, this was a good story. Enjoy it if you want an older based mystery.

Sarah Wittig Albert’s The Tale of Hill Top Farm

Overview: The town of Sawrey has an uproar going one. The Hill Top Farm was sold for far more than its worth to some city girl. Add to that the fact that the town register is missing, and one of the oldest, and most powerful, members of the town has died. Then the buyer of the Hill Top Farm shows up. Well, the town now has plenty to talk about.

Story Telling: This is a historical fictional account of a trying time in Miss Potter’s life.

Dislikes: This is going to have two parts. Let’s get started with the personal quirks. For one thing, historical fiction doesn’t usually work for my tastes. Yes, one of my favorite novels is “Little Women”, but even that was a contemporary novel at the time. My problems come in when actual people, or even God for that matter, become characters in another’s world. And that’s what books are, views into the authors’ worlds.

Two: the accents got to me. Granted this one is more readable than “Huckleberry Finn”, but the dialogue can be difficult to parse out.

Now for part two: Miss Crabbe was a piece of work. That’s one woman who needs to wisdom to know when to shut up.

Also, Miss Toliver and Miss Potter’s parents irked me. Yes, children should be willing to take care of their parents in their old age. But, to tell your child that his/her dreams don’t matter because they are there to take care of you, is just wrong.

Likes: I found the creature aspects of the story to be quite cute. It was the best aspect of the story for me.

Favorites: Normally I’d have a favorite quote, character, and scene here. This time around there isn’t any.

Conclusion: This book has an interesting premise. If you enjoy historical fiction, a little fantasy, and slice of life tales, you might want to give this one a try.