11: T is for Trespass

T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton

Another 55 cent book from the Book Sale. Hardcover, with a jacket, and another that was not a library book.

Previously on The Remainder Table…

[S is for Silence] flips between Kinsey’s 1987 world and flashbacks to 1953 (various characters). Since Kinsey is not a party to the 1953 flashbacks, the reader always knows more than she does. I’m not thrilled with this device. In a detective story, I think it’s best if we stick to the detective’s PoV—this is the only way the reader can play along (and isn’t that what a detective story is about?).

I’d forgotten about this. In T, while most of the story is told from Kinsey’s PoV, some of the chapters are told from the villain’s PoV. As with the flashbacks in S, I wasn’t excited about this device—I don’t think Grafton provided any insights into the character that we couldn’t have gotten another way. And it mitigated the suspense. Sure, there was still the “what is she going to do?” suspense, but there was no “who’s the villain?” More importantly, it put the reader ahead of Kinsey from the very beginning, which made Kinsey look kind of slow when she finally did catch on (which seems kind of unfair to the character).

I’m guessing that Grafton couldn’t think of a way to create doubt as to who the villain was with this particular storyline, so that’s why she went this route. But I think it would have been possible, if some of the minor characters had been played up more.

In T, what would normally be the side plot turns into the main plot. Kinsey’s neighbor, 89-year-old Gus, falls and dislocates his shoulder. He needs help while he recovers, but his only relative is a great-great-niece in NY. Kinsey manages to locate the niece, and she makes a brief visit to Santa Teresa. But because Gus is a Grumpy Old Man, she has trouble finding a home care nurse for him. When she finally finds someone, she only has Kinsey do a cursory background check, because she is eager to get back to her life in NY. Duh-duh-duh!

I enjoyed T more than S. But I know if I think about it too much, the whole thing will fall apart. (So I’m not going to ;-))

Here’s the thing. I know Kinsey Millhone isn’t great literature, but also know if I come across another in the series, I will probably read it. It’s reading junk food! nomnomnom It’s not even so much about the series itself, but about the fact that reading it also reminds me of reading the first books in the series, back when my favorite TV show was Remington Steele and my career aspiration was to be either a police detective, a private investigator, or a cat burglar.

Random tidbit: Grafton’s pet word is “ease”: people are forever easing onto stools, cars easing out of driveways, etc. etc.

Haha. It’s true! She still likes ease, but its noticeability was eclipsed by her new pet word (phrase?): “thumb lock.” I assume she means a deadbolt. I’ve never heard them referred to as thumb locks before.