13: N is for Noose

N is for Noose (Kinsey Millhone, #14)N is for Noose by Sue Grafton

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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Purchased at Beacon Books in Sidney on my way to the ferry.The kind of place you could get lost in for hours! And yes, there was a cat 🙂

Previously on The Remainder Table, I wrote about S is for Silence and T is for Trespass. So with N is for Noose (1998), we’re taking a few steps back. Though in Kinsey’s timeline, this means months, not years.

In my T is for Trespass post, I wrote:

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.

Haha, yes. I loves me some reading junk food.  I’ll keep reading these even though they’re flawed. There are different kinds of good.

Anyway, N is for Noose got off to a good start. For most of the book, I thought this would be the Kinsey book I’d give three stars. And then I got to the ending. Augh. Not the only time this happened this year and not the first time I’ve wished for half-stars.

In this book, Kinsey is in the Sierra Nevada, so the location is different than her usual, though she does make a quick trip home mid-story. She stays in a terrible motel that conjures up Psycho and every other movie/TV episode featuring a cabin-style motel and a sinister plot. Ok, so the sinister plot goes without saying. Has there ever been a comedy featuring a cabin-style motel? When that doesn’t work out, she ends up staying at her client’s home, which has its own challenges.

The client, Selma, has hired her to investigate what her husband, Tom, was working on prior to his sudden death. Selma is supposed to be terrible–everyone in the town dislikes her–but she’s not really. She does have wildly inconsistent cooking habits, a mixture of inedible mid-century shortcut “foods”  (Jell-O with fruit cocktail and Miracle Whip? um, what?) and from-scratch baked goods. But I guess that does convey a woman of a certain era. (She is fifty-ish; this is 1986.)

There was a lot of nerd detective work in this one (digging through messy files, searching newspaper archives) and the main plot thread is the search for Tom’s last work notebook, which is missing. So that was all good. But the ending… yikes. Off the rails. Let’s just say it involves drugged brownies.

P.S. Speaking of Remington Steele, KVOS is currently showing it at 8pm weeknights. So awesome. I didn’t remember it being so campy.