Monday, July 09, 2007

Smart Bitches Day!

Here I am to take part, for a change, in Smart Bitches Day as always hosted by our beloved, and gallbladderless, Beth. We send her love and chicken soup.

Just finished S is for Silence by Sue Grafton Which is the...(abcd...19th?) book in her Alphabet mystery series. Or is it alphabet murders? I don't think there's always a murder...anyways. I've read them all and adore them.

They star our singleton heroine, Kinsey Millhone, who is 37 and a former police officer turned private detective. She lives alone, most of her friends are spunky elderly people, and she likes her independence and privacy. She runs every morning at 6am for three miles and her favourite sandwich is peanut butter and pickles. I love this woman. I want to be her - I'd even tolerate the disgusting palate. Would she swap lives with me? Not in a million years.

In this book Kinsey's been hired a woman to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared in 1953. (The book takes place in 1987) and we head out to small town California - blink and you'll miss it - Serena Station.

The story chapter flips between 1953 and the story perspectives from each of the various townspeople who are involved with our missing mother, Violet Sullivan. Violet is...well to be honest she's a floozy. Drinks too much, sleeps around and acts out in any way she can. She's beautiful, seductive and manipulative. So of course the women all hate her and the men all love her, but never let anyone know. Kind of like Cher in Mermaids, but a hyper exaggerated, red haired version.

Kinsey is her usual, logical tenacious self and managed to rub everyone up the wrong way and still bristle brush information off their backs. There's a feeling of "This ain't your town, so stop nosing around." but all with the veneer of complete politeness. They are all so deep in layered secrets and lies it's amazing Kinsey isn't skipping with joy through this story.

I am rather proud of myself that I managed to pick up a theme in this book - I'm rubbish at finding themes or hidden meanings or "What the author was really trying to convey was..." bollocks, but here I picked up on a 7 deadly sins theme. And they are all there; the lustful(Violet and everyone she sleeps with), wrathful(The men who find out they aren't the only ones and their wives), greedy(The man married to the rich woman who won't shed a dime his way), sloth(Violet's husband), Envy (Anyone who has contact with Violet - she's a shit stirrer) and Pride (The pious brigade who use Moral Rearmament to move themselves above the poor and depraved, who tended to be the rich and snooty too.)

Sue Grafton is a dialog master, I envy her ability to make dialog so easy, flowing and concise. The sad part about her books is they go so fast. they are easy reads, but filled with so much I am left with that hollow, sad, how-dare-she-end-it-now? feeling.

My only complaint with this book is that the final scene, where she faces off the murderer and is fighting for her life, armed with her favourite gun (I forget what it is I'm not into those details) and he's trying to...ah almost gave it away! I must be careful - but anyways it's too short! And Grafton leaves out some important stuff - I mean there's a reason why bad guys monologue, it's to confess and tell us how and why they did it. But no such luck this time, and then he's done in and I'm left thinking, he came to his end far too soon. And I've just typed and erased several versions of a sentence that will give away the ending so I'll just say - it left me wanting.

You have to admire Grafton's ability to want to bring 26 books to fruition all based on the same character's adventures. She's taking her time with them too, as the first one, A is for Alibi, was published in 1982. I'm looking forward now, for T is for Trespass, due out in December - so I think I know what to ask for, for Christmas.

This, has inspired me. I've been faced with a routine disruption that I didn't know how to handle. I normally go to the gym and book the kids to the creche for two hours, but as Sassyface is now eight, she's too old for the creche. I couldn't let her sit in the lobby and play games on her DS for that time, regardless of how much she'd love it. So on reading Kinsey, I took attention to her habit of getting up at 6am everyday to go for a three mile run. I kept thinking "I could do that" and you know what: I'm now doing that. It makes perfect sense to get up an hour before Husband and then run, I'm back in 40 minutes and in time to wake him up for work, get his lunch made and be there for the kids. I can still go to the gym later tonight after the girls are in bed - so it works this way. It's a nice feeling to know I've already had my workout before anyone else is up. It'll be harder when it starts getting later for sunrise, but that's what reflective clothes are for. So - Thank you Kinsey - you solved a problem for me too.

7 comments:

Maja said...

Sounds like a good book, and series!

I just finished reading Vanity Fair today.

Lyvvie said...

Oh excellent! What did you think about it? Do an SBD on it and join the fold!!
*KISSES*

NWJR said...

I only skimmed this post so that I wouldn't get hit with any spoilers. I have a bunch of the Alphabet books, but I really want to read them in order. And I have about a jazillion (yes, that's the right word...I think) books to get through.

I need a clone.

Lyvvie said...

The good thing about the alphabet novels is you can read them out of sequence with no trouble! And I was very very careful not to spoil!!

gusgreeper said...

good deal. a new book for my list :)

ssheers said...

I've read all of Sue Grafton's alphabet books and loved them. Thanks for letting me know the next one will be out in December.

I like how she describes each of the murder suspects so they all have a good reason to have committed the murder.

Somebody told me: When we get old and forgetful, we can read all the Sue Grafton books all over again and it will be like reading them for the first time !!!

Maja said...

Okay, I'll do an SBD for Monday :)