S is for Silence: A Kinsey Millhone Novel Hardcover – Dec 6 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Kinsey Millhone has kept her appeal by being distinctive and sympathetic without craving center stage. While some mysteries that provide the PI's shoe size or most despised food create a forced and intrusive intimacy, a master like Grafton makes the relationship relaxed and reassuring. Millhone's life is modest and familiar, though her love life, now featuring police detective Cheney Phillips, tends to be oddly remote. This 19th entry (after 2004's R Is for Ricochet) adopts a new convention: Millhone's customary intelligent and occasionally self-deprecating first-person reportage is interrupted by vignettes from the days surrounding the Fourth of July, 34 years earlier, when a hot-blooded young woman named Violet Sullivan disappeared. Violet's daughter, Daisy, who was seven at the time, hires Millhone to discover her mother's true fate. Violet had toyed with every man in town at one time or another, so there's no shortage of scandalous secrets and possible suspects. Constant revelations concerning several absorbing characters allow a terrific tension to build. However, the utterly illogical and oddly abrupt ending undermines what is otherwise one of the stronger offerings in this iconic series. One million first printing; Literary Guild, BOMC and Mystery Guild main selection. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Grafton's determined march through the criminal alphabet puts readers within striking distance of the end, a destination no Grafton fan wants to reach. The latest in the lexicon should really be C Is for Cold Case, since it involves a disappearance that took place nearly 35 years in the past. (Although the alphabet keeps progressing, Grafton's heroine, Kinsey Millhone, is still in her late 30s and, given her high-fat eating habits, probably wouldn't have survived to be a sleuth in her 60s.) The daughter of a really neglectful mother (who could have starred in I Is for Issues) has been haunted by her mother's disappearance from a Fourth of July celebration when the daughter was only three years old. Part of the intrigue from this case comes from Grafton's sensitive portrayal of the psychological consequences of neglect. Boldly departing from the conventions of victim fiction, Grafton portrays the daughter as sniveling and annoying as well as desperate. Millhone doesn't have much hope for the case but starts digging (it's fascinating in itself to see how Millhone flounders and flounders until she finds a crack in the case). Grafton juxtaposes flashbacks to 1953, when the mother disappeared, with the current investigation, giving different points of view on the woman. Although she gives us a bit too much of Millhone's eating and living habits (probably in response to fan enthusiasm), this novel also presents strong character portrayals, a mosaic of motives, and a stunning climax. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Inside This Book(Learn More)
When Liza Mellincamp thinks about the last time she ever saw Violet Sullivan, what comes most vividly to mind is the color of Violet's Japanese silk kimono, a shade of blue that Liza later learned was called "cerulean," a word that wasn't even in her vocabulary when she was fourteen years old. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
I slid fairly easily into Kinsey's "I am a..." intro in chapter 2, with the bar/lunch scene in which Millhone reluctantly met her client over a "to drool for," scrumptiously described grilled kaiser roll with salami and pepper-cheese, fried-egg, innards. The melted white cheese infused with red-pepper-flakes definitely hot glued me onto a bar stool along with the characters. The usual Quarter Pounder with cheese would have worked, too, but, for whatever reasons, Kinsey somehow got the gourmet bug in "S."
Once the flow of the flashback chapters seated into the flow of the "I-Kinsey" narrative, I noticed that the Third Person narratives were deeply engrossing as well as intriguingly and stylishly written. I would certainly understand if Grafton had an itch to explore moods and thought patterns inside-the-heads of characters with varying degrees of anti-heroic traits, who would be vastly divergent from Kinsey in behavioral motivation and rationalization techniques.Read more ›
Sue Grafton has written one of the most satisfying cold case stories that I've ever read. She makes the missing person, Violet Sullivan, both sympathetic and off-the-wall. At the same time, Ms. Grafton shows how an unsolved disappearance leaves everyone who cared about the person wounded to the core. They are victims too. In the case of S Is for Silence, some of the victims are more sympathetic than others . . . but they are all interesting.
The book mainly succeeds because Ms. Grafton creates an interesting series of characters and plot interactions both in her flashback chapters and in her development of Kinsey's investigation.
Ms. Grafton wisely keeps the investigation short. The mystery is unraveled in five days. To have strung the investigation out would have made the book boring, in my judgment. I was very impressed to find that the flashback information wasn't a direct hint as to how Kinsey would solve the mystery. She followed her own unique path.
Those who like to focus on Kinsey and her life as a single woman won't find this book very satisfying. The cold case is the story. Kinsey's friends and family have barely cameo roles in this book.
For those who like a classic missing person's story against the backdrop of volatile relationships in a small California town, this book will, however, be the right stuff.
I liked the flashbacks - a nice change of pace. In fact, I started to care about the characters we met in the first few pages. Why would a grown woman befriend a 13-year-old adolescent? Why does this teen lead such a lonely life? But all the characters seem rather sleazy, almost interchangeable with characters in the other Grafton alphabet novels.
Grafton is a smart, talented writer. Can't her publishers let her introduce a new heroine? If you are looking for a great mystery novel try ' Giorgio Quest '. by Giorgio_K.
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoyed this book as with all Sue Grafton stories. Recommend her work to anyone who enjoys old style detective stories.Published 9 months ago by Eveline Howells
I received my book on cd quickly and in great shape. I have listened to half of it so far and there has not been one problem with the cd's. Thanks for a great purchase. JeanPublished on June 21 2010 by Jean Adam
I've been reading this series from the beginning, so by habit I picked up this one and I'm happy I did. Read morePublished on March 26 2006