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S is for Silence 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
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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 ›
Unfortunately, this novel comes hard on the heels of 'Q is for Quarry' in which Kinsey is engaged in identifying a Jane Doe murdered 15 years ago and determining who might have committed the homicide. So there are some common plot elements here, beginning with both cases being exceedingly old. In addition, both victims are attractive, sexually promiscuous young women living in small towns, whose activity is brings controversy and attention. The cases involve a quarry and an excavation respectively. Both cases involve iconic highly collectable American cars, a 1965 Mustang and a mid '50's Chev Bel Air coupe (it would spoil the plot if I specified the key role the cars play in the two cases), but of course that might be purely coincidental. So the similarity in plot lines is unmistakable, and for me greatly diminished my interest.
The question of why some battered women remain with their abusive husbands remains a current and relevant issue, and Sue Grafton''s portrayal of this dilemma is effective in getting the reader to think about this issue, and yet avoids taking sides.
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 15 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
Solving a cold case is extremely challenging for a detective. Writing about solving a cold case is even tougher. Read morePublished on July 15 2006 by Donald Mitchell
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