D is for Deadbeat starts out with a load of bullshit. We’re told from the beginning that ‘Alvin Lomardo’ is lying to Kinsey and she’s buying it. She even takes a check from him, which of course bounces three days later (ah, the days of checks).
This leads Kinsey to LA in search of ‘Alvin’, where we find his very young wife with a shiner and no furniture because he sold everything right before he split. His name is not Alvin, and he’s probably back up in Santa Teresa.
Dead and washed up on the beach. Now Kinsey is left with a $25,000 cashier’s check that ‘Alvin’ tasked her with delivering to 15 year old Tony Gahan. We find out that Tony is the sole survivor of a DUI crash that killed his family. ‘Alvin’ was in jail for vehicular manslaughter until recently.
The suspect list grows and grows but we all know who did it.
E is for Evidence deposits a mysterious $5,000 in Kinsey’s bank account. She contacts the bank to alert them to the error, then we flash back to her most recent investigation for California Fidelity Insurance, a suspicious warehouse fire at a company owned by the Wood family. Kinsey has history with this family, which one would think makes it inappropriate for her to be investigating but who needs realism in our detective fiction?
The $5,000 is part of a frame up, we are soon to find out, after the report she has submitted to California Fidelity turns up on her bosses’ desk missing significant pieces. She is suspended and goes off on her own to figure out who’s pulling the strings. Turns out the Wood family have been in disagreement since the passing of the patriarch over who should run their business.
Kinsey’s 2nd ex-husband shows up and pushes his way into her life, and after Kinsey is almost killed by a bomb he acts as nursemaid. Shockingly enough it’s not long before we discover he’s betrayed her, again.
This one ends with a Flowers-in-the-Attic type revelation and the total destruction of Kinsey’s garage-apartment.
F is for Fugitive takes place in Santa Teresa-adjacent Floral Beach while her apartment is being rebuilt lovingly by her landlord Henry Pitts. Kinsey is hired to help fugitive (title shout out) Bailey Fowler, who plead guilty to murder 17 years ago and then promptly escaped.
She stays at the family’s motel in Floral Beach and we meet dad Royce, who hired Kinsey, mom Oribelle who is medically fragile and terrible and needy, and sister Ann who is saddled with the care of her two aging and ill parents in Bailey’s absence.
It’s a very small community and the 17 year old murder (and the 17-year-old murder victim Jean) seem to be fresh in their minds still. We learn that Jean did not know her father, Jean was pregnant, and was not involved with Bailey.
Bailey is caught, then busted out during his arraignment. Kinsey is stalked, her hotel room invaded. The body count rises. The killer makes sense, but it’s not an awfully predictable ending.