Study Guide

"I" Is for Innocent

by Sue Grafton

"I" Is for Innocent Analysis

“I” Is for Innocent (Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Kinsey Millhone saved her previous employer a considerable amount of money in the course of investigating a case of possible insurance fraud (“H” IS FOR HOMICIDE). In accord with the philosophy that no good deed should go unpunished, the California Fidelity Insurance company rewarded Kinsey by terminating her services. Thus, Kinsey leaps at the opportunity to obtain office space in the law offices of Kingman and Ives. Lonnie Kingman is a high-profile criminal attorney, and Kinsey believes the arrangement will be good for business.

Indeed, when Kingman’s investigator, Morley Shine, unexpectedly dies, Kingman is quick to engage Kinsey’s services. At which point, Kinsey begins to doubt not only her predecessor’s professional ethics but also the viability of her client’s case. The matter in question seemed clear enough on the surface. Although David Barney was accused of killing his wife Isabelle, the jury was not convinced of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But, while the jury was not convinced, Isabelle’s ex-husband had reached his own conclusions. As a result, he instigated a civil suit to deprive Barney of the profits of murder most foul.

Kinsey’s investigation fails to support Kingman’s case; the facts appear to substantiate David Barney’s innocence. Moreover, it appears that a number of people besides her husband had good reason to kill the feckless Isabelle. Then Kinsey discovers that Morley Shine’s death was anything but natural. If she is not on her toes, she may meet the same fate as the luckless Mr. Shine.

Loyal fans of Grafton will not be disappointed by this latest addition to the Kinsey Millhone saga, and newcomers to the series will find good reason to examine “A” IS FOR ALIBI and subsequent works. In point of fact, it seems a shame that the English alphabet has only twenty-six letters.