K is for Killer by Sue Grafton

K is for Killer by Sue Grafton

In her 11th outing in the series, Kinsey Millhone is asked to investigate the death of Lorna Kepler by her mother. While a thorough police investigation was carried out at the time, the mother believes Lorna was murdered. After a few initial inquiries to find her bearings, Kinsey is intrigued enough to take on the case.

Slowly, she learns that Lorna was a feisty loner with quite a few secrets. Smart, intelligent and beautiful, she kept to herself, chose her few friends carefully and enjoyed life to the full. The trail takes Kinsey to San Francisco, a water treatment plant where she worked and various clubs and hotels as she tries to identify anyone who might have a reason to kill Lorna.

Things begin to get serious when Kinsey teams up with vice cop Cheney Phillips, who shows her the darker side of life in Santa Teresa.

Kinsey is a feisty character with a dry, often irreverent take on life that adds a welcome touch of humour to the narrative. Her investigations are detailed, filled with vivid characters, and she always lets you in on her thoughts as her inquiries progress. It all amounts to an enthralling murder mystery that keeps you guessing to the final pages. This one also packs a surprising twist.

I first read this series when the novels were published during the 1980s, 90s and beyond. While I can barely remember any of them, the stories feel fresh and relevant today. They’re a joy to read and a super example of how to write private investigator novels.


Lorna Kepler was beautiful and wilful, a loner who couldn’t resist flirting with danger. She has also been found dead in mysterious circumstances and her death pulls Kinsey Millhone into a netherworld of deception, betrayal and unavenged murder . . .

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