In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say up-front that I am a huge fan of the Sue Grafton Alphabet Mysteries and U is for Undertow – just released in paperback – is another excellent installment in the series. Having said that, it offers a slightly different reading experience than most of the other novels in the series.
In this outing, Kinsey Millhone, Grafton’s savvy, female P.I., seems to take a back seat to past events. Michael Sutton comes to Kinsey in 1988 with a vague memory from his childhood. He believes that this memory is related to the disappearance of four-year-old, Mary Claire Fitzhugh, in the summer of 1967. Michael Sutton, himself, was only six at the time of the disappearance, but he seems sure that his memory can shed new light on a cold case. Kinsey must reconstruct the past and discover the fate of the lost child.
The story unfolds in flashbacks to 1967 by a group of interesting, but seemingly unrelated characters. Every flashback weaves the threads of each individual’s remembrances into a complex whole involving family dysfunction, greed, grief, and the tragic disappearance of a child. Kinsey’s investigation in 1988, exposes past crimes and present betrayals which threaten to unravel the fabric of the lives of those involved.
I almost felt in this book that Kinsey had joined me as an observer, rather than being a driving force behind the action, as she usually is. Observer or instigator, Kinsey is always good company. I highly recommend this book and all of Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mysteries.
Who is your favorite fictional Private Investigator?