Reviews

Kinsey and Me: Stories by Sue Grafton

neumanzoo's review against another edition

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4.0

I've always loved Sue Grafton and her Alphabet Mysteries. Kinsey Milhone was the perfect leading character. I was so sad to hear of Grafton's passing, and cried while finishing Y is for Yesterday, knowing it would be the last, and I would say goodbye forever to a very old friend. When I found this book, Kinsey and Me, I was delighted to read something new-to-me with my favorite character. Even though they were (too) short stories, it was good to "hear" her voice again in a new way. That part of this book was a literal blast from the past, and I enjoyed it very much. The last half of the book, however, was so depressing. Reading such intimate details of the relationship Grafton shared with her mother, and the disease that robbed her of her childhood, was incredibly sad. I admit to skimming the last few stories because the grief of all that she lost as a child (the ability to even be a child) was just too heavy. I'll still give the book 4-stars, for Kinsey alone, but I wish I'd stopped at the halfway point.

laurie1671's review against another edition

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Glad I got from library and didn't buy it.

tsukikomew's review against another edition

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4.0

Sue Grafton is one of my auto-buy authors. I discovered her years ago when I was graduating from Agatha Christie's Ms. Marple and the tv show Murder, She Wrote. Kinsey Millhone became part of my yearly reading habits as I inhaled each book as quickly as I could. I knew early on Grafton did not release books in the fashion of Patterson, Roberts, or Steel and often a year or two would go by before the next one. I tended to read three-five a year as I tried to stretch them out until the next few were out. Now I've caught up through V is for Vengeance and am impatiently waiting for W.

Kinsey and Me offered me a bit of a break from waiting for the next Kinsey Millhone. I put the book on hold the moment I could (#1!) and waited patiently for January 8th. Once it came I had to finish Exposed to You (review here) and it was a hard wait.

The first half of the book contains a group of short stories/mysteries with Kinsey. They act as almost origin stories in the sense we meet no other characters. Henry, her landlord, is mentioned in passing and she runs into a friend from the insurance company at one point but as a whole, the stories deal with Kinsey only.

Kinsey is back and better than ever in these stories as she deals with deaths ruled accidental, missing bodies, and missing people. She approaches each mystery with a unique wit and sarcastic humor which I love and look forward to constantly. Kinsey goes to parties wearing her all-purpose dress, leaving her much-needed gun locked in the glove compartment, while unknowingly helping criminals before bringing them to justice.

The second half of the book serves as a memoir for Ms. Grafton as she dealt with her mother's alcoholism and subsequent death. The main character is named Kit Blue but it is evident she is mirrored after Ms. Grafton. Kit navigates hating and loving her mother until her death from acting as a parent when she is young to dealing with her father's re-marriage and selling of the childhood home.

I did not enjoy Kit Blue's stories as much as Kinsey Millhone's. I like memoirs so that was not the issue. The issue was the complete difference in writing style. Kinsey's stories are light and fun while Kit Blue's were dark and depressing. Understandably there should have been a difference since each character dealt with very different things. I did not dislike Kit Blue or the reveals surrounding Sue Grafton's life but I preferred reading about Kinsey.

4/5 Stars

nglofile's review against another edition

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2.0

It pains me to rate a Grafton book as just OK, but that's what it is. The idea of pairing Kinsey short stories with autobiographical sketches is an interesting exercise, but it doesn't work in execution, especially as packaged here.

The first half is entertaining enough, but more as tide-me-overs until the next full-length mystery. I love hanging out with Kinsey, but short stories don't play to her strengths.

The personal essays, loosely packaged as Kit Blue character sketches, were unsatisfying. Perhaps it's because we don't have the same investment in this protagonist, perhaps it's due to the depressive nature of the familial circumstances, but whatever the factors we aren't given reason to care. Kit has no identity, a straw woman by whom we are to gain insight into a dysfunctional family. It doesn't illuminate as it should, and I finished only out of loyalty to the author.

derekerb's review against another edition

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3.0

I absolutely adored the first half: Kinsey short stories is a wonderful format and perfect for holiday reading in chunks. The short stories are well-crafted and feel complete while still being short. I especially liked the various information as to how and why she created Kinsey ...

However I did note like the second half: stories of Grafton's childhood with alcoholic parents and a lot of self-therapy. I felt uncomfortable reading these, as though they were not meant for me to read, and they certainly were an incongruous add on to the wonderfully pleasurable Kinsey stories.

tehlanna's review against another edition

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3.0

I listened to this on audio. I loved getting a small peek into the origin of Kinsey Millhone and how Grafton thinks of that character as part of herself (my words). The short stories were quick and intense, and quite enjoyable.

coops456's review

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3.0

It's a long time since I picked up a Kinsey Millhone story, and these short stories reminded me how I enjoyed the 1980s-era Californian P.I.

Included in this collection is some interesting background from Grafton about her approach to writing, her relationship with her protagonist, and about the key decisions she made in designing the series.

I was less keen on part two, autobiographical tales from Grafton's life as the daughter of two alcoholics.

kricketa's review against another edition

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3.0

first half: quick mysteries featuring kinsey millhone, who i've become very attached to. brief and fun.

second half: short stories about kit blue, grafton's "alter ego", primarily dealing with blue/grafton's mother who suffered from alcoholism.

grafton puts a transition between the two, but they seem like strange bedfellows. still, grafton fans will enjoy the collection.

valeehill's review against another edition

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dark reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.0

judyward's review against another edition

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3.0

A wonderful collection of nine short stories featuring Kinsey Millhone. Also included are a series of semi-autobiographical short stories about Kit Blue coming to terms with her life as a child, learning to cope with alcoholic parents, and dealing with the grief over the death of her mother.