I still love the Grafton series, and I still love Kinsey Millhone stories, and about half of Y is for Yesterday is written from her perspective. The other half is the story of a group of spoiled, idle, and cruel teenagers who will eventually commit murder, the consequences of which she is asked to investigate. And it’s a big ask fo readers to have to wade through extensive dialog between said spoiled, idle, and cruel teenagers — and the sophistication is not much increased when they age by 10 years, either.
So a wonderfully complex intrigue (plus the resolution of the intrigue described in X), the usual blunt style of Ms. Millhone, but too many pages of silly teenage drama.
The Secrets She Keeps portrays two very pregnant women from different social classes, one aspiring to have the other’s life, which seems so perfect. The outcome will be complicated and tragic. The back stories seem needlessly over-full of drama, but the intrigue is captivating and clever and the characters are complex, down to the (wonderful) police psychologist.
Missing, Presumed stars a female detective who goes from one disastrous Internet date to another and who is assigned to the suspicious disappearance of the daughter of an upper-class couple. As the disappearance remains unsolved darker secrets come up and must be shared with the media, bringing the ire of the family and professional complications for the detective. I found the twisted end almost entirely unbelievable, but the juxtaposition of the detectives’ private lives and the investigation felt, for once, both entertaining and a wonderful reminder that detectives, like all of us, can have regular lives outside of work.
The Good Girl unwisely goes home with a stranger who has a contract to kidnap her — and indeed takes her to a remote cabin where they nearly freeze to death, and almost starve. It turns out that there is a big twist to the story, which should make readers happy but it seemed to me to make the whole story wholly unbelievable. Still, the stifling atmosphere of the cabin and the relationship between gaoler and captive make for a gripping story.
All By Myself, Alone probably required a good luxury cruise or two to research (do I sense a theme in author research?) and we certainly get treated to the recitation of over-the-top menus and cabin decor. That said, the lady with the emerald necklace is indeed murdered, as the curse of the necklace suggested, and suspects abound, all conveniently traveling on the same ship. I uncharacteristically figured out who did it early on but was very happy to turn the pages all the way to the end, not paying too much attention to the unlikely details. It’s all good fun.
Love Like Blood tackles, a bit awkwardly, the topic of honor killings. The plot is satisfyingly convoluted, with a nice (horrible!) twist at the end; the characters are all complex and interesting; and the action moves steadily. It all makes for a satisfying, if not unforgettable mystery
What My Body Remembers starts like a standard story of a single mother on welfare, struggling to deal with a mysterious psychiatric disorder while trying hard not to allow her son to be taken away from her, but quickly turns into the investigation of the death of her mother, killed when she herself was a little girl, which started her chaotic and violent journey through the foster care system. She will eventually untangle the responsibility of her father, who was convicted of murdering her mother, with the help of various residents of the small village where she grew up — to a dramatic finale.
I had to try hard to ignore the plot holes (would you race to what you know is a very dangerous scene without alerting the police?) but the psychological complications of the plot are delightful.