This is the first Grafton book I have read and is smack dab (#16 in the Kinsey Millhone series to be exact) in the middle of the series. Why start at “P” you ask? This is the earliest one I could get in eBook format from PinDigital since the Penguin Group stopped selling their eBooks to libraries. Click here to learn more about eBook publisher restrictions and how libraries are being shut out of the eBook market.
P is for Peril takes place in the mid-1980’s (as do all of Grafton’s books), and features Kinsey Millhone, P.I. in Santa Teresa, California who was hired by Fiona Purcell to find her missing ex-husband. Dow Purcell is an administrator of a nursing home facility who has been missing for several months and the police’s trail has gone cold. Kinsey has her suspicions about Fiona and isn’t sure what she can find that the police couldn’t but agrees to take on her case.
She begins by interviewing Dow’s current wife, Crystal, who has a daughter from another relationship. The daughter, Leila, is an angsty teen who may not have the best relationship with her stepfather. The further Kinsey digs, she finds that Dow’s employer was fraudulently billing Medicare and was in a bunch of hot water. This leads her to a number of shady characters who may have wanted to get Dow out of the picture.
While working for Fiona, Kinsey signs a lease for a new office that seems too good to be true and turns out is. She discovers that the brothers who rented the office space are suspected by their former insurance company of starting a fire to collect on insurance money; a fire that killed their two parents. Tommy, the younger brother, seems to have developed a romantic interest in Kinsey. But Kinsey is stuck in the middle and may have help the insurance rep in order to save her life.
Loved this book! Kinsey is a likable character, and Grafton keeps the plot interesting by featuring plenty of suspects and not a clear picture on how she will solve the mystery. Kinsey doesn’t always play by the rules, but has her client’s best interest at heart, so I dig that. Since the books take place in the ’80’s, Kinsey has to go to the library and courthouse to do research and stop at pay phones to make phone calls…it is pretty cool. Can’t wait to read another Kinsey book, and don’t worry, you can read these out of order, fortunately, in case you are wanting to borrow this as a library eBook. If you like Sue Grafton, another series to try that features a strong female sleuth is Kate White’s Bailey Weggins series.