Wednesday afternoon, April 6, 1988
My name is Kinsey Millhone. I'm a private detective, female, age thirty-seven, with my thirty-eighth birthday coming up in a month. Having been married and divorced twice, I'm now happily single and expect to remain so for life. I have no children thus far and I don't anticipate bearing any. Not only are my eggs getting old, but my biological clock wound down a long time ago. I suppose there's always room for one of life's little surprises, but that's not the way to bet.
I work solo out of a rented bungalow in Santa Teresa, California, a town of roughly 85,000 souls who generate sufficient crime to occupy the Santa Teresa Police Department, the County Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the twenty-five or so local private investigators like me. Movies and television shows would have you believe a PI's job is dangerous, but nothing could be farther from the truth . . . except, of course, on the rare occasions when someone tries to kill me. Then I'm ever so happy my health insurance premiums are paid up. Threat of death aside, the job is largely research, requiring intuition, tenacity, and ingenuity. Most of my clients reach me by referral and their business ranges from background checks to process serving, with countless other matters in between. My office is off the beaten path and I seldom have a client appear unannounced, so when I heard a tapping at the door to my outer office, I got up and peered around the corner to see who it was.
Through the glass I saw a young man pointing at the knob. I'd apparently turned the dead bolt to the locked position when I'd come back from lunch. I let him in, saying, "Sorry about that. I must have locked up after myself without being aware of it."
"You're Ms. Millhone?"
"Michael Sutton," he said, extending his hand. "Do you have time to talk?"
We shook hands. "Sure. Can I offer you a cup of coffee?"
"No, thanks. I'm fine."
I ushered him into my office while I registered his appearance in a series of quick takes. Slim. Lank brown hair with a sheen to it, worn long on top and cut short over his ears. Solemn brown eyes, complexion as clear as a baby's. There was a prep school air about him: deck shoes without socks, sharply creased chinos, and a short-sleeve white dress shirt he wore with a tie. He had the body of a boy: narrow shoulders, narrow hips, and long, smooth arms. He looked young enough to be carded if he tried to buy booze. I couldn't imagine what sort of problem he'd have that would require my services.
(c) 2009 by Sue Grafton
P.I. Kinsey Millhone takes on a cold case that soon turns red-hot in Sue Grafton’s latest installment in her enormously popular Alphabet series.
It’s just one month before her 38th birthday, which might explain why Kinsey Millhone is surprised to learn that the very young-looking guy who’s come seeking her expertise is actually in his late 20s. Once the boyish Michael Sutton starts pleading his case, though, he has Kinsey’s attention. As Sutton explains it, he’s had a flashback to a memory from when he was 6 years old and stumbled upon what he now realizes was the grave of a little girl whose disappearance is suddenly back in the news. He knows it’s a long shot, but he wants Kinsey to help him locate the girl's remains—and perhaps her killers. Even with his offer of cash upfront, Kinsey is reluctant to get involved and decides to give him one day. But as her investigation unfolds, Kinsey discovers that her impassioned client has a poor track record when it comes to telling the truth. Could it be that the boy who cried wolf in the past is getting his kicks out of telling another giant whopper? Sue Grafton’s U is for Undertow is unputdownable!
Hardcover Book : 416 pages
Publisher: Putnam Pub Grp/Member Penguin Putnam ( December 01, 2009 )
Item #: 12-776813
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 x 0.99inches
Product Weight: 15.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I started the alphabet series about 6 months ago. I was in love until "S". Ms. Grafton completely changed her style of writing for the last 3 books and I don't like the new way. I will finish the series because I do like Kinsey, her landlord Henry, and the rest of the gang. But, really disappointed in the writing style change.
Just started reading this series. I'm already up to "F". Sue Grafton writes a good story, easy to read, without a lot of complications. Love it!
Reviewer: Stacey H
Love this series will get them all. Really enjoy this character, and have enjoyed watching her grow as the books progressed. Only book I have missed so far is book c. Hope she gets all the way to Z
I really enjoyed U. Could not stand T, but having read all of them, liking most, decided to complete the alphabet.
This book is another example of why Sue Grafton is one of my favorite writers. I really liked this book and look forward to V and the rest of the alphabet.