"H" Is for Homicide by Sue Grafton

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“H” Is for Homicide

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Insurance investigator Kinsey Millhone is not a happy camper. For one thing, a claims adjustor, a man Kinsey liked, is found dead in a parking lot. Moreover, Vera Lipton is soon to be married, and she demands that Kinsey buy a dress suitable for a maid of honor. Kinsey feels this last is a bit imperious inasmuch as she already owns a dress. Admittedly the dress is black and smells like a swamp, but it is a dress. Deep in the throes of a massive guilt trip, Kinsey is easy prey for a request to locate a woman suspected of insurance fraud.

Kinsey’s quarry, Bibianna Diaz, is in hiding from Raymond Maldonado, a Los Angeles gang leader who is determined to marry Bibianna, whether she likes it or not. When Maldonado kidnaps Bibianna, the undercover Kinsey is taken as well, plunged into the nefarious world of insurance fraud while trying desperately to contact the police.

There is no mystery as such in this particular work. In consequence, Grafton is able to concentrate on character development and witty repartee. She is generally successful in this regard, but her use of the “if only I had known what was coming” device is an unfortunate development. It is not necessary to read the preceding seven works in the Kinsey Millhone series in order to appreciate this one. Still, as is normally the case with an evolving series, it does help to be familiar with the characters.