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"N" is for Noose [Hardcover]

Sue Grafton
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 15 1998 The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries (Book 14)
Kinsey Millhone should have done something else--she should have turned the car in the direction of home. Instead, she was about to put herself in the gravest jeopardy of her career.

Tom Newquist had been a detective in the Nota Lake sheriff's office--a tough, honest cop respected by everyone. When he died suddenly, the townsfolk were saddened but not surprised: Just shy of sixty-five, Newquist worked too hard, smoked too much, and exercised too little. That plus an appetite for junk food made him a poster boy for an American Heart Association campaign. Newquist's widow didn't doubt the coroner's report. But what Selma couldn't accept was not knowing what had so bothered Tom in the last six weeks of his life. What was it that had made him prowl restlessly at night, that had him brooding constantly? Selma Newquist wanted closure, and the only way she'd get it was if she found out what it was that had so bedeviled her husband. Kinsey should have dumped the case. It was vague and hopeless, like looking for a needle in a haystack. Instead, she set up shop in Nota Lake, where she found that looking for a needle in a haystack can draw blood. Very likely, her own."N" Is for Noose: a novel in which Kinsey Millhone becomes the target and an entire town seems in for the kill.

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From Amazon

"Suppose we could peer through a tiny peephole in time and chance upon a flash of what was coming up in the years ahead?" The questioner is Kinsey Millhone, middle-aged, two-time divorcee detective and junk food junkie star of Sue Grafton's popular "alphabet" mysteries; the book is 'N' Is for Noose. If Kinsey had had just a smidgen of foresight, she would never have taken her current case, handed down to her from her on-again, off-again flame and comrade in arms, Robert Dietz. We encounter the two this time out after Deitz's knee surgery, as Kinsey drives his "snazzy little red Porsche" back to Carson City, where she checks out his digs for the first time. To her surprise, he lives in a palatial penthouse, which--under the unspoken bylaws of investigative etiquette--she qualmlessly snoops through. They sit around for a fortnight playing gin rummy and eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches together, but perennially single Kinsey grows wary: "It was time to hit the road before our togetherness began to chafe."

She heads off to meet Dietz's former client, Mrs. Selma Newquist, a devastated widow whose makeup tips seem to come from Tammy Faye Baker. Her husband Tom Newquist, a detective himself, had been working on a mysterious case when he abruptly died of a heart attack. Selma suspects foul play, but bless her, she isn't the brightest star in the sky and can't figure out what Tom was working on even though he's left behind enough paper to fill a recycling truck. Kinsey digs right in and roams the sleepy, one-horse town of Nota Lake for clues, interviewing a colorful cast of in-laws and locals. Beneath the quaint, quiet, country veneer, she unearths a bubbling hotbed of internal strife and familial double-dealing. Was Tom covering up for his partner? Is Selma protecting someone? Grafton's knack for gritty details and realistic characters ("[Selma's] skin tones suggested dark coloring, but her hair was a confection of white-blond curls, like a cloud of cotton candy"), coupled with the fast-paced, believable story line, makes for another delightful, entertaining read. --Rebekah Warren, Bestsellers editor

From Publishers Weekly

The noose of the title implies a tight knot, but the twists and turns of Grafton's latest plot are pretty loose. Not that the fans of self-reliant PI Kinsey Millhone's 13 previous alphabet appearances (from 1982's A Is for Alibi through 1996's M Is for Malice) are likely to object. This story takes Kinsey away from her Southern California coastal town of Santa Teresa to the small mountain community of Nota Lake in the Sierras. There, Selma Newquist hires Kinsey to ferret out the problem that had been seriously bothering her cop husband, Tom, before his recent death from a heart attack. Kinsey's efforts are soon stonewalled as the residents of Nota Lake unite, suggesting that the widow is being troublesome while the good-guy cop should be left to rest in peace. Kinsey wonders whether the townspeople might be right until she is seriously beaten up in her Nota Lake motel room. Focusing on finding the dead man's missing notebook, she follows his trail to a seedy hotel not far from Santa Teresa that he visited a few weeks before his death. While keeping a suspicious eye on the dead man's police partner and a few other local figures, Kinsey determines that Tom Newquist had been investigating an old murder near Nota Lake, which may have had ties to a similar, recent murder. Lots of coincidences, some over-the top characters, including a hyper-raunchy older woman, and some unprepared-for elements contribute to the rather chaotic climax. But Grafton's easy-reading, intelligent prose and her heroine's sharp humor, served up dark and wry, make up for a slew of plot weaknesses. 1,000,000 first printing; Mystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild selection; 18-city author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Sometimes I think about how odd it would be to catch a glimpse of the future, a quick view of events lying in store for us at some undisclosed date. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Cold Case file Aug. 18 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A woman wanted to know why her recently dead husband was under stress. She was willing to hire Kinsey Milhone to find the reason. Her husband Tom Newquist had not been sleeping well. The job was in the vicinity of Carson City. It was the sort of place where people might wear a combination of snow and western clothing. The widow of the dead man, Selma, was very helpful. Tom Newquist did not smile. In his picture he had the look of a police officer. Before his death by heart attack he was not necessrily a healthy man. He drank, he smoked, he was overweight, and he was strait-laced. He saw the world in rigid terms. He was a good investigator by all reports. His sister believed he tried too hard to please his wife who was a snob. Kinsey was assaulted and felt herself going into shock. She received help getting to the hospital. I did not realize that investigators liked to dig into old unsolved cases, but apparently they do. Tom Newquist was probably involved in such a venture when he died. Uncharacteristically he ate away from home just prior to his death. An unidentified woman was seen within a quarter mile of his pick up truck parked by the side of the road. The break in the case came from someone in Nota Lake who believed the dead man had an interest in a female investigator from another sheriff's department.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "N" is for "No-No" in the ending May 29 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"N" maroons Kinsey in a fictional town on the east side of the Sierra Nevada (note to Grafton: it's "Sierra," not "Sierras"). Instantly a fish out of water, Kinsey learns about small towns at their gossipy worst while realizing (as usual in a Grafton mystery) that even the nice people might be nasty at heart. We don't lack for suspects--although in the first half of the book, we do lack for a crime--and there's a scene midway through that is definitely NOT for the squeamish.
I generally love Grafton's sly observations, but this book is a little too hard on small-town folk. A bigger problem is the ending. Kinsey is uncharacteristically slow at narrowing the suspect list; I was way ahead of her. But worse, the solution comes down to a convoluted code written by someone who had no reason to leave a coded message. You only do that with things like safe combinations or computer passwords that you don't dare write plainly, but are afraid of forgetting. Here, there was no risk that the code-writer would forget the information: and therefore no reason to write it down. Instead, the code exists only so Grafton can tantalize Kinsey (and the reader) with it: a serious plotting error.
I'd give "N" 2 1/2 stars if that were an option. Because it's Kinsey, it gets three.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The alphabet won't be long enough! May 10 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Sue Grafton is absolutely the best. If you haven't read a Kinsey Millhone book, PLEASE do yourself a favor and pick one up. They don't have to be read in order, but starting with A IS FOR ALIBI and proceeding through will make sure you don't miss one. N IS FOR NOOSE is an almost-perfect book. The mystery -- well, wow! -- I don't want to give anything away. The thing is, it doesn't matter to me whom she's chasing or who's chasing her. Grafton is so skilled at her craft that I found myself holding my breath, literally on the edge of my chair. And how she puts the reader "in place" while reading made me so homesick for California! Here she creates a community away from her hometown of Santa Teresa (based on Santa Barbara). It's so REAL! I can still see the town in my head, along with the realistic characters. There are no cardboard cutouts here -- these characters breathe. There aren't enough words of praise for Sue Grafton -- Excellent!! Kinsey has become the definitive female detective -- and with good reason. I hope Sue keeps writing books until she's 120 years old. But by then we'll run out of letters of the alphabet -- so then what?!
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read many of the reviews of Sue Grafton's books that you people have put here. I know many of you share a hate-like relationship of her books, but whoever reviews Patricia Cornwell better bear in mind that in my opinion Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky beat her out any day. The main plot of "N" is For Noose centers in Nota Lake, Kinsey has been hired by Selma Newquist to find out how her husband Tom Newquist died. Sue Grafton always writes her novels with lots of description and I mean lots, hilarious dialogue, action, and smart-mouthed Kinsey Millhone who keeps getting better by the book, In Stephen King's On Writing he says that Grafton, although she writes real fast, seems to produce great books, He's right. Her best novel is probably O is for Outlaw, Her weakest would be L is for Lawless, since there wasn't a real mystery in this. If you are a fan of Grafton (Like I Am) I suggest you get this one, if you have read all of Grafton's books and need something to read that's like her style I recommend Sara Paretsky, Janet Evanovich and Marcia Muller. If you want Alternatives to other mystery writers, read Kathy Reichs, she's like Patricia Cornwell except much, much better. If you like British Mystery like P.D. James read Elizabeth George. As for N is for Noose it is excellent, exciting and fun. Grade: A-
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2.0 out of 5 stars What's all the hype about Grafton? Sept. 27 2001
Format:Hardcover
This is the first of the "alphabet series" I've read, and if it's an indication of the quality (or lack thereof) of Grafton's writing, it will be the last. The story meanders and she seems to revel in leaving loose ends (and these sloppy loose ends are not to be confused with intentional misdirection which some authors use). You can tell high quality authors when the action slows and you get character development and scene exposition. Grafton shows her ineptitude during these periods. I felt I was reading a travelogue when she described driving from city to city.
The action scenes are extremely lacking as well, certainly no where near the quality of a DeMille (which I had the fortune - maybe misfortune for Grafton - to read immediately after this book). As I understand that this is a series of books with the same main character, I wonder if they were better in the early A,B,C's and Grafton has simply run out of new material to write.
I was looking forward to reading a clever book with a resourceful and interesting woman protagonist. I was very disappointed - and unless you're a Grafton groupie you will be too.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My wife is a huge Sue Grafton fan
Published 2 months ago by MARK D BRAY
4.0 out of 5 stars What Mess Does Kinsey Get Herself Into Next?
In "N" is for Noose, Kinsey is letting herself in for more than she can handle. Selma Newquist lost her husband in an untimely heart attack as he was driving home. Read more
Published on June 13 2004 by J. Kirkman
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Kinsey's best outing
By now, Grafton's heroine, Kinsey Millhone, is well established amongst the ranks of female detectives. This book possibly isnlt the best of the series. Read more
Published on April 4 2004 by saliero
4.0 out of 5 stars Kinsey does a favor for Dietz
Kinsey has just come back from playing nurse to her sometime-lover Dietz who has undergone knee replacement surgery. Read more
Published on May 5 2003 by Karen Potts
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Grafton's better efforts.
Unlike the preceding 13 novels in this series, Millhone is having a week of rather bad hair days in this one and it shows. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A Matter of Taste
I think most of us here rate a book on the basis of our own tastes--what kinds of books we personally enjoy reading. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2002 by "mom2bacall"
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first half
I actually like the slow and frustrating investigation by Kinsey. The plot pulled me right in - all the agonizing twists and turns. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2002 by Puneet Tanwar
1.0 out of 5 stars wha???
(audio version)That about sums up my reaction to most of this book. It was slow, overly descriptive (I fastforwarded through large sections without missing plot details... Read more
Published on July 29 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilly
In this one she dumps the decrepit Dietz in Nevada and holds up her return to sunny Santa Theresa to solve a mystery in a hick town in the Sierra Nevada. Read more
Published on May 16 2002 by D. P. Birkett
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilly
In this one she dumps the decrepit Dietz in Nevada and holds up her return to sunny Santa Theresa to solve a mystery in a hick town in the Sierra Nevada. Read more
Published on May 16 2002 by D. P. Birkett
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