I ended up finishing this book last night and found the overall story to work quite well, while also providing us more details into Kinsey’s maternal family as well as her relationship with Dietz. I was surprised by the ending though since I honestly couldn’t figure out who the murderer was, and when we understand what happened and why I felt pity for the character of Guy Malek. Grafton is often able to write a victim of a murder in such a way that you get a pretty sense of them. She does the same thing here for Guy Malek.
“M is for Malice” is the 13th book in the Kinsey Millhone series. At this point readers should know the particulars, but of course Grafton lays them out for us again. Things are a bit different in this one though with Kinsey finally coming face to face with a maternal cousin she didn’t know about until a few books ago. Kinsey’s cousin Tasha talks to her about doing some work for her and that coincides with Robert Dietz popping back into Kinsey’s life.
One of the many things that will make me sad about Sue Grafton passing away is that we never will get a resolution about Kinsey’s romances. I know who I am rooting for though (no spoilers).
Kinsey in this one is more emotionally fragile than we are used to. She has to come to terms to realizing what her Aunt Gin told her about their family was a lie. And Kinsey has to come to terms with that she really isn’t as much a loner as she professes. When her cousin Tasha asks her about tracking down wayward son, Guy Malek, Kinsey meets someone she has an instant kinship with. Something about Guy has Kinsey wanting to protect him, and when she sees how his family treats him, starts to feel worried that he should just leave the family home and get his inheritance. When Guy is found murdered though, Kinsey decides she is going to find out who killed Guy and why.
The secondary characters are good in this one. The Malek family is a mess and a half and Grafton does a great job of showcasing all of the personalities as well as the servants that the family employs. Dietz sticks around for this one, which is surprising. It’s been almost 3 years since Kinsey has seen him or heard from him and I definitely get why she was reluctant to have him near her again. I liked them together though in this one, Kinsey having someone to bounce ideas off of and also run down leads was interesting.
The writing is typical Grafton. I usually get into a reading groove with these books and just hang on for the ride. The flow worked though I wanted at times the story to go faster since it felt like Kinsey was just spinning her wheels. The setting of the book is mostly in Santa Teresa.
Next up is N is for Noose!