Friday, June 28, 2019

Book Review: "N" is for Noose by Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone #14)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, decent mystery…
Cons: …Once the pace finally picks up
The Bottom Line:
A slow beginning
Masks another good story
Worth persevering

Overcomes a Slow Start to be Entertaining

I always finish a book once I start it.  Sometimes, my issues with the beginning of a book are resolved the further you go along.  I’m especially patient with an author I normally enjoy.  Such was the case with “N” is for Noose by Sue Grafton.  This book definitely had a slow start, but I was quite intrigued by the time we reached the climax.

P.I. Kinsey Millhone has been hired to ease the mind of a widow.  No one is questioning that Tom Newquist died of a heart attack, something brought on by his poor health habits.  However, his widow, Selma, is convinced that something was bothering her husband in the last few weeks of his life, and she needs to know what that was.  The problem is, she has no clue where Kinsey might begin to look, and none of Tom’s friends or co-workers in the Nota Lake Sheriff’s office are willing to speak ill of the man or have any clue what might have been bothering him.

So Kinsey digs into his life, hoping to find some thread she can unravel.  Was Tom hiding something?  Can Kinsey figure out what it was?

Okay, since this is a mystery, you can pretty much figure out that Tom does have a secret that was weighing on him, but it takes forever for Kinsey to find the thread to unravel.  We are over a quarter of the way into the book before the investigation begins to go anywhere.  But after that point, I began to get hooked and I was very impressed with what Kinsey uncovered and how she put everything together by the time the book was over.  It could have used some editing in the beginning, but it was well worth reading overall.

Much of the book takes place outside of Kinsey’s home town of Santa Teresa, California.  This isn’t the first time we’ve spent significant time outside of town on a case.  We do get a little bit of time with the regular supporting players, which was nice.  However, the book is filled with a strong cast of new characters.  I’ve always found that the characters are a strong point in this series.  In just a few lines, they spring to life, and I’m left in awe at how deftly author Sue Grafton was able to do that.

Based on my research, I have reached the end of the line in this series in one respect – this appears to be the final book narrated by Mary Peiffer.  I’m really going to miss her take on the characters and narration, which I have always found wonderful.  And the fact that I was listening on audio might have helped me enjoy the book more since I was in my car driving anyway, so I was more patient with the slow beginning to the book.  After all, I listened to over half of it in just about 24 hours while I was driving all over Southern California for a fun weekend.

If you are new to Kinsey Millhone’s cases, I definitely don’t recommend that you jump in here.  However, fans will find they enjoy “N” is for Noose once the story gets going.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Kinsey Millhone Mysteries.

This review is part of this week's Friday's Forgotten Books.

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