four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
33-Mar-Apr-2008
By: 
Sue Grafton
user_rating: 
0

A-T Is for TrespassIn S Is for Silence (2005), Kinsey Millhone—the clever, junk food–eating, twice-divorced private eye—investigated the disappearance of a woman decades earlier. In T Is for Trespass, set in the familiar 1980s small Southern California town, Kinsey crosses paths with evil incarnate. Such iniquity comes in the form of sociopath Solana Rojas, who, after stealing an identity of an innocent nurse, comes to care for Kinsey’s beloved but crotchety elderly neighbor, Gus Vronsky. As Solana starts to isolate Gus from the outside world, Kinsey begins to suspect that she is not the caregiver she claims to be—and starts to dig around to uncover Solana’s horrific past.
Putnam. 387 pages. $26.95. ISBN: 0399154485

Cleveland Plain Dealer 4 of 5 Stars
"After the routine R is for Ricochet and the sloppy S is for Silence, it’s terrific to testify that Sue Grafton’s T is for Trespass is toned, taut and tense. … Although the resolution doesn’t build to a movie-dramatic finish, Trespass reminds us why we’ll stay with this series to the very Zend." Michele Ross

Dallas Morning News 4 of 5 Stars
"As the years and books fly by, it gets ever more amusing to watch Kinsey trudging through old-style detective work, actually looking things up at the courthouse and doing reference checks by talking to people. … As usual, Ms. Grafton mixes deadly serious topics, in this case identity theft and elder abuse, with offbeat Kinsey-esque humor." Joy Tipping

Los Angeles Times 4 of 5 Stars
"If the book were not set in the technological dark ages, Kinsey might have used her iPhone to save a lot of road wear on her blue Mustang as well as to summon help during one or two nearly fatal brushes with the villains. But what fun would readers find in that?" Dick Lochte

USA Today 4 of 5 Stars
"It’s the best and strongest book in the series. … It may be two years before we get U Is for … from Grafton, but if it’s half as good as Trespass, it will be worth the wait." Carol Memmott

Oregonian 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Gus’ plight is heartbreaking and scary, but even more frightening is the reality of how easy it can be for someone to take advantage of us or our loved ones. … It’s easy to relate to Kinsey like never before as she walks a delicate line between boundaries, debating how much and when to get involved, struggling with the borders between caring and intrusion, and learning at what point she and others are at risk." Jolene Krawczak

Washington Post 3 of 5 Stars
"As in her previous adventures, most of the people Kinsey encounters and investigates are everyday folks: bank tellers, apartment managers and hospital aides. Kinsey’s beat is the banality of criminality, and Grafton’s gift is making the minutiae of detective work and everyday life into something both sociological and suspenseful." Kevin Allman

Critical Summary

Although Kinsey Millhone has been around for 25 years, critics agree that T Is for Trespass is one of Sue Grafton’s finest works to date. About elder abuse and identity theft, among other crimes, the novel devotes pages to both Kinsey’s and the villain’s perspectives and thus becomes more of a battle of wits between the two women than a real mystery. As Kinsey decides when and how far to get involved in Gus’s horrific plight, her other cases (a child molester is on the loose, for example) kept critics turning the pages. Reviewers also appreciated that Kinsey ages blissfully slowly—since 1982, when A Is for Alibi was published, she has only gained five years—and thus remains in the Internet-free 1980s, where interpersonal relationships triumph. The ending put off a few critics, but otherwise this 20th installment thoroughly engrosses.

First in the Series

A Is for Alibi (1982): In Saint Teresa, California, young private investigator Kinsey Millhone must clear the name of a woman convicted of murdering her philandering husband. Next in the series: B Is for Burglar, C Is for Corpse—you get the idea.