Never a Wasted Moment

I’ve been a big fan of Sue Grafton’s since Kinsey Millhone, the thirty-year old private investigator at the center of Grafton’s series, solved her first case and shot a murderer dead in “A is for Alibi” in 1982.

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Life moves slowly in Santa Teresa, the fictional California town that Kinsey calls home.  In the latest entry, “W is for Wasted,” it’s only 1988, when “it looked like things were as bad as they were going to get.  On the national front, congressional spending was a whopping $1,064.14 billion and the federal debt was topping out at $2,601.3 billion.  Unemployment hovered at 5.5 percent and the price of a first-class postage stamp had jumped from twenty-two cents to twenty-five.”

Makes you long for decades past, doesn’t it?

Kinsey, now thirty-seven, is as feisty as ever, as independent as ever, still living in her studio apartment where her elderly landlord, Henry, keeps a watchful eye on her.  When she takes a road trip to Bakersfield, he gives her a map, so she can get where she’s going.  Yep, there’s no GPS.  When she checks into a motel, she calls him with her phone number, just in case he needs to get in touch with her. Nope, she doesn’t have a cell phone.  No one does.

Kinsey conducts her interviews face-to-face.  She takes notes on index cards and types her reports on a Smith-Corona. After filling out a legal document, she makes copies on a Xerox machine and personally drops the original off at the courthouse.

Before falling asleep at night, Kinsey curls up with a Dick Francis novel.  Waiting for an appointment, she picks up a copy of People to learn that Bruce Springsteen is dumping his wife actress Julianne Phillips and hooking up with Jersey Girl Patti Scialfa.

It feels so right to relive the eighties through Kinsey’s eyes.  It makes me want to put on my jogging shoes and go for a run first thing in the morning, just like she does. I think the next book in the series should be “X is for Xhilerating.” Or, for this aging reader, make that “xhausting.”

© 2014 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

Deja vu all over again?  Watch Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon spoof Chris Christie’s Bridgegate to “Born to Run.”

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